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Children vs. Adults in second-language learning - Sogang OCW

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Children vs. Adults in second-language learning
3308심리언어학Chapter 6
Children are better: a common belief2. Basic psychological factors affectingsecond-language learning-Intellectual processing-Memory-Motor skills-Two other important psychologicalvariables3. Social situations affecting second-language learning
-The natural situation-The classroom situation-Who is better? Children or adults?- ESL or EFL community context4. Is there a critical age for second- language learning?
What are the differencesbetween children and adults?
Age (critical period of learning)MotivationAttitudeEnvironment (ESL vs. EFL)
Theories on the second language acquisition
- During childhood, language learning is very easy. Our brains are ready for language learning. As we are getting older, people loose childhood ability (Lenneberg, 1964).Theattainment of second language is constrained bytheage at which learning begins (Birdsong &Molis,2 001, p. 235).- “Acquisitionof a normal language is guaranteed for children up to the age of six, is steadily compromised from then shortly after puberty, and is rarethereafter” (Pinker, 1994, p. 298).
Psychological factors:Intellectual processing
1. Explication- The process whereby the rules and structures of a second language are explained.- It is impossible for it to be learned entirely by explication (e.g., tense, article).- Explication is rarely applicable to young children (e.g., dogs/z/-voiced consonant, ducks/s/-unvoiced consonant).- Simple rules can be learned by explication.
Psychological factors:Intellectual processing
2. Induction- Self-discovery of the rules- For young learners:(John danced then John sang->John danced and then he sang)It is able to use and understand thecomplicated structures.-For the second-language learners: beyondthe learner’s level of syntacticunderstanding?
Psychological factors:Memory
Syntax learning and episodic memory- Memory is crucial for the learning of grammatical structures and rules.- Episodic memory: the learner must rememberthe situations in which the sentences are uttered in order to derive the meaning.2. Children’s memory ability- 7 to 12 years old: cognitive ability- Under 7 years old: rote memorization
Psychological factors:Motor skills
Articulators of speech- Motor skills: the use of muscles in performing certain skills(e.g., walking, writing, speech).2. Decline in general motor skills- Around at the age of 12 years: due to some change in central functioning in the brain.3. Decline in ability for new articulations- Children have the flexibility in motor skills that adults generally have lost.
Three important psychological factors
Induction and Explication2. Memory3. Motor skills
Psychological factors: Motivation
Motivation (according to the situation)- At the age of 1-2: no motivation.- At the age of 4-5: need motivation- The planned learning situation(classroom) : need motivationthe amount of attention+ effort2. Other variables involved in second language learning:personality, social situation, intergroup attitude, self-confidence, desire etc.
Psychological factors:Attitude
1. Attitude: negative vs. positive determination, persistence.2. Other variables involved in second language learning: status, cultural background.
Social situations
Natural situation:it is similar to that in which the first language is learned.2. Classroom situation:it involves the social situation of the school classroom.3. Community context:it allows students to have access to a natural situation and thereby supplement their classroom learning.
Social situations:the natural situation
Characteristics of the natural situation2. With age, language is more essential for social interaction3. Older children can have problems
Social situations:the classroom situation
The classroom is isolated from other social life2. Learning languages as part of a group and not as an individual
Social situations:who is better? children or adults?
In a natural situation
Social situations:who is better? children or adults?
In the classroom situation
Environment for the second language learning
ESL: English as a second language2. EFL: English as a foreign language

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Children vs. Adults in second-language learning - Sogang OCW