to SLA and Language Teaching
Cook, Newcastle University
Lecture handout (shortened as I can't get boxes to work)
that Sla Research needs to Explain
English primary school children who are taught Italian for one
hour a week learn to read better in English than other children
people who speak a second language are more creative and flexible
at problem-solving than monolinguals, e.g. Einstein, Nabokov …
ten days after a road accident, a bilingual Moroccan could speak
French but not Arabic; the next day Arabic but not French; the next day she went
back to fluent French and poor Arabic; three months later she could speak both
the Voice Onset Time (VOT) for /t/ /d/ sounds of French people who
speak English is different in French from those who don't
L2 learners rapidly learn the appropriate pronunciations for their
own gender, for instance that men tend to pronounce the “-ing” ending of the
English continuous form going as “-in’ ” but women tend to use “-ing”.
Remembering a video of a fishtank, Chinese who speak English will
remember the fish more than the background to a greater extent than monolingual
Key terms in Early Second Language Acquisition Research
Languages in Contact
'those instances of deviation from the norms of either language which occur in
the speech of bilinguals as a result of their familiarity with more than one
language' (Weinreich, 1953,1)
'book' 'kniga' 'book'='kniga' 'book'
/buk/ /kniga/ /buk/ /kniga/ /buk/
coordinative compound subordinative
bilingualism bilingualism bilingualism
Contrastive Analysis (CA – but not the same as Conversational Analysis CA)
'individuals tend to transfer the forms and meanings, and the distribution of
forms and meanings of their native language and culture to the foreign language
and culture' (Lado, 1957, p.2).
'a system of habits' (Lado, 1957, p.57), based on 'laws of language learning'
such as 'exercise', 'familiarity of response', etc (Lado, 1964, p.45). Corder
(1971), Error Analysis: (i)
recognition of idiosyncrasy, (ii) accounting for the learner's idiosyncratic
dialect, (iii) explanation.
(1972) interlanguage: language
transfer, overgeneralisation of L2 rules, transfer of training, strategies of L2
learning, communication strategies,
knowledge of more than one language in the same mind or the same community”
somebody who is actively using a language other than their first
L2 learner; someone who is learning but not using a language.
of Language Teaching
The basis for teaching is the spoken, not the written language.
not true, teaching needs to reconsider how it deals with writing, both overall
and in terms of the specific aspects of writing
The aim of language teaching is to make students like native speakers.
not true, a
realistic teaching target is therefore the successful L2 user, based on L2 user
language, L2 user situations, L2 user based descriptions
Teachers and students should use the target language rather than the L1 in the
not true, language teaching
needs to look at the roles of the L1 without prejudging.
Much of this is covered in LL< Chapter 1 and Cook, V.J. (2010), ‘Questioning traditional assumptions of language teaching’, Nouveaux cahiers de linguistique française, 29 (online) and Cook, V.J. (2011) ‘Key issues in SLA’ (online)
Corder, S.P. (1981), Error Analysis and Interlanguage, O.U.P.
R. (1964), Language Teaching: A Scientific
L. (1972), 'Interlanguage', IRAL,
10/3. Reprinted in Richards (1974)
U. (1953), Languages in Contact, The