Minggu, 28 Oktober 2012

psycoliguistic CHILDREN VS ADULTS IN SECOND LANGUAGE ACQUISITION

CONTENT
CHILDREN VS ADULTS IN SECOND LANGUAGE ACQUISITION

1.       A common belief

Most people believe that children are better than adults when attempting to learn a second language. Factor involved in second-language acquisition can be divided into two kinds, the psychological and the social. ‘ social ’ we shall consider the type situations, setting and interactions which affect our ability to learn a second language, in particular the natural and classroom situations.

2.       Psychological factors affecting second-language learning

a.       Intellectual processing

There are only two ways to learn the structure and rule of second language :
1         Explication
2         Induction

1. Explication
Explication is the process whereby the rule and structures of a second language are explained to the learner in his or her native language.
a.       Explaining
Explaining is rarely done by parents or others when children by the age 4 or 5 understand and speak most of their native language quite well. Parents do not even attempt to explain a relatively simple morpheme rule, like that the plural.
2. Induction
Learning rules by self-discovery is the essence of the process of induction.
For example, given the sentence ‘ john danced then john sang ‘ and ‘ john danced and then he sang’, spoken in a relevant situation, the learner can determine that the two sentences are related, with he being a replacement for john.

3.        Memory

Memory is crucial to learning. For example, must retain a connection between the hearing of ‘dog‘ and the experience of seeing or touching a dog. More than one occurrence of such a situation may be necessary so that it became part of the person’s permanent memory.
Memory is similarly crucial for the learning of grammatical structures and rule. For example politeness structures ( ‘please close the door’. ‘ would you please close the door?’.  would you mind closing the door?’), etc.
memory is essential, for example, to devise the rule for the use of do when making   negative sentence (1) ‘ john doesn’t want to play with you, today’, (2) ‘ john cannot play with you, today’, (3) ‘Mary isn’t happy.
The kind of simple memorization where word, phrase and sentence are remembered just as they are is called ‘role’ memorization by psychologists. The rote are memory ability of very young children seems to be excellent in that they easily absorb a phenomenal amount of data.

4.       Motor skill

Good pronunciation, which is related to the ability to control the organs of speech, is clearly an essential part of learning a foreign language. Jaws, lips, tongue, vocal chords, etc are controlled by muscles, all of which are under the general control of the brain.
Children learning a second language typically learn to speak it with a pronunciation that is indistinguishable from that of a native speaker, few adults, on the other hand, are able to achieve such a level. What is puzzling, however, is that there appear to be exceptions among adults. I am of the view that some adults (mature persons beyond the age of puberty) do learn to speak a second language with native pronunciation. For example, children under age of 7 year are rated ‘high’ on all psychological factors except ‘explicative’ processing, while ,adult  are rated ‘high’ on ‘inductive’ and ‘explicative’ processing but ‘low’ on ‘memory’ and ‘motor skills’.

Table, Psychological and social factors a affecting second-language learning for children and adults.


Psychological factor
Social factor
Intellectual
Situation
Inductive
Explicative
Memory
Motor skill
Natural
Classroom
Children






Under 7
High
Low
High
High
High
Low
7 – 12
High
Medium
Med/high
Med/high
medium
Medium

Adult






Over 12
High
High
Low
Low
Low
High

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