Second language acquisition. A book of readings

Second language acquisition. A book of readings

Journal of Praprnatics 4 ( 1980) 87-90 0 North-Hdlancl Publishing Company The research on second language acquisition is as diverse as the circumstan...

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Journal of Praprnatics 4 ( 1980) 87-90 0 North-Hdlancl Publishing Company

The research on second language acquisition is as diverse as the circumstances in wf’lich unc Can learn a sl:cond language. Whether they are longitudinal case Wdics or pseudo-longitudinal studies, whether they are observational or experimental or a combination thereof, the studies included in Evelyn Hatch’s reader are empirical studies of children and adults learning a :,econd language in natural situations, that is, in environments where there is no overt instruction of the second language. Most of the research reported in this book has been undertaken in the 1970s; some of the papers are reprinted from journals, other have been read at conferences over the years, and appear here in printed form for the first time. The book is divided into four parts, each representing a different approach to the study of second language learning. The first part contains 17 case studies of one or several children or adults whose language development was observed over various periods of time clqd analyzed according to, different rnc:tho?s, some borrowed from child language research (e.g., the acquisition of grammatical morphemes), others developed in the field of second language research (K.,;;, error analysis). The second part contains seven experimental studies, usually b;1Y-+_Ion hypotheses derived from observational studies, which make strong arguments about large populations of second language learners; the language data on which the claims are made :Ire either elicited by means of tests (imitation, translation, syntax measures) or a #:ombination of spontaneous and elicited language. A new approach in second language acquisition re
likely related LOthem, as [latch point:; out in the introduction COthe reader, “not otlly is second larlguagc learning a !oJq, arnd diffMt process t’tir the child, but tlrerc ar;I children who do nc~t learn the se 1:c:=x! 1 !aque~e as ‘;l~Jtl>nl~ltically’ ;JSothers”

ix!).

Once it is showr that second langwge leaming is a rather frustrating process won for children, tlat they differ in the way the;y learn the language, and that not all of thCn1 are as ~iWX!CSSfUl at letirning languages as they are thoug!lt +9 be, the nCM iogkai stCp WUld be to show that in fact young atgc does not rcprescnt 211 advantage in ~econt! Iqy~rg~ lemming at all. lndccd, this ~l;tim has been made: older chlldrel~ Ieij.rn a swnd language f;lster because they have better mc:no;y hc\Jristics, are beirter pr!lblcm soll:crs, have a more abstract knowlccgc of oral IiInjillilgC plror~0logy, wIxh is I roright about by the tr:Jnsition to literacy (Ervin‘i‘ripp). Two experimc!~tal st\Jci& invcstigatinl: agl: ci:ffe:tinccs in second langu~,gc iJCC~Ui!;itioJl (Ramiie? LJid Mitzer; Snow and ~i;refJl:Jgcl-l,liiIllc?briJq; Jllore cv&~~ in Favor of this ~tguinent - older learners arc better lcarner!I, but t’lis advantage ).lpmq”P p ,%orf~r.\&q hattar tl~~.~ ._I..? uLI -.y..cl dg;c: . ,..war-tim I v&r.-. ” 2 rvilinn w.-.a*.ar b, ad&scep,cc, Lb*b.,IU6 6 IdbAIL~IIEII~ LICL~GI tllall curly gro\Jp. One explanation for such a fmding is the fact that older learners are generally more n;ature, that they know hijw to learn, 2nd Apple to language lcarqing a11the strategies they have developed in their learning history. A complementary way of explain-ing it is by looking at the opportunities older learners hiive for using laquagc and comparing them IO the verb4 interactions in which younger learners get involved. It may well be that the former, being more challenging, i\re conducive to fasicr kmgunge learning t;lan the IatteJ. The most recerlt aF;mm:h to second Innguage aquisit ion research -. disco\Jrse analysis -. will hopefully thd ;\I) answer to this problem Bilsed on the belief’ that language kearning dons EI;I~mean simply leatlling the grammar 01 a lmgusge and does not h.!ppcn by mere tlxposurc to the .al~guagz,but by active vl:rbai involverncnt with the speakers of the language, jiscmrse analysis, that is the analysis of the interactive .3rocess in which language learning occurs, attempts to show how “language learning evolves out: of learning how to cmy on convcrsil t ions” (Hatch: 404). As two of the studies in this book (Peck; Hatch) suggest, the &course analysis approach promises to offer rllternative answers to puzzling problems, as well as to raise new questions about second ianguage learning. Evelyn tl:~tch is not merely the editor of this collcctiorl of studies. Equipped with an admir;lble kmwledge of the “history” 01’ second lmguqe research (and c ild language rcsemh, for that nl;\t ter), from the first diary-studies to the murc rcl’ccntdcvclo~~~~~c~~ts of which she is part (scvcrsl af ticlcs were writtcfl by he: students un;der !m direct guidance), she integrates each article into the larger picture of secmd larquagc research and highlights the main is,;ues in the !iield in a balanced and resyonsibl: way. A marginal crit i&m: mazy of the references made by the authors of thta various studies are not incluied in the list of references at the end of the book (e.g., Jakobson 1956; Smith 1972; Kay md Sankoff 1974, etc.). The book

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remains, however, a good textbook for studwts interestcc’ not only in second language acquisition, but also in language development in general. Awa Nemoianu University of California Rzrkeley, CA, U.S.A.

List

of articles

M.A. AJams. Methodology for examining second language acquisition. N. Baiiehr, C. Madden ond 5.3. Krashen. Is there a ‘natural xquence in adult second lanpuage learning? R. Burl:ng, Language development of a Gaco and English-speJking child. G. Butferworlh and E. Hatch, A Spanish-speaking adolescent’s acquisition o ‘English syntas. il. Cancino , E .d. Rctinsky and J.H. Schumann, The ac’cuisition Irr English negatives and intcrrogalives bq native Spanish speakers. M. Cclce-tlurcia, The simu!t:.neous acquisition of Eng!ish and French in a two-year-old !#hi!d. 4.U. Ch,amot. Grammatical : ioblem.; in learning English ;IS a third language. H.C. Dula)’ md h1.K. Burt, Natural st*quences in child sccjnd language acquisiricn. S. Ervin-Tripp, Is second language learning like the fust? K. Hakuta. A report on the developr,lent of grammatical morphlzmes in a Japs\lesc girl learning English as a second language. I:. Iiatch, Discourse analysis and scco~lf language xquIsitia#n. J. Huang ar.d E. Hatch, A Chinese chiltl’s acquisition of English. N. Imedadz~*, On the psychological nature of child speech formation unr’er condition of csposure to Of0 languages. H. Itoh 2nd E Hatch. &cond lanpuag? acquisition: a cast study. D.t. Larsen-T’ieeman, An csplanarion of the morpheme accurscy order tsf learners ot‘ Enl;lish as a second Iar gual:e. W.1:. Leopold. i-. child’s 1earnir.g of two languages. S I%ck, Child-et ild discourse in second languag acquisition. A.G Rsmirez and R.L. blitzer, Comprehension and production in Englrsh as a second I;.nguap? by elsmentarq school children and adolescents. R. Ravem, Two Nur-wegian children’s acqtiisition of English syntax. J.H. Schumann. Sk,cond language acquisition: the pidginization hyputhc:;is. R.G. Shdpira. The ?on-lcarninp of English: case study of ati Jdult. C. Snuw and M. Htlet nagel.Hdhit , Agz differences in second language acquisition. Et!.Swain. N. .Vaim,m and G. Du~nas, 4spccts of the learnin& of F;rcnch hy Englisl+xaking Irvcyear-&ds. J WVapncr-Gough, k~ctrpts fron c~)mparalivc stud& in second IanguagI! learning:. Y. Wade, Developnl~ntai sequences in naturitiistic L.! xquisition. !%I.Yoshida, The accluisitiort of EngFch vocabulary by ;I Japanese-speak,lng child.