ERIC Number: ED238260
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983-Oct
Reference Count: 0
Requests for Specific Language Input: Differences between Older and Younger Adult Language Learners.
A study of the kinds of requests for foreign language information made by adult students of Spanish, and a comparison of the kinds of inquiries made by students aged 19 to 23 and those over 55 years, are reported. The objective was to learn more about what language learning processes are contributing to the difference in success of the two groups. The subjects, part of a larger study, were training as missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. The older missionaries, although highly motivated, have historically had more difficulty with language training. The students kept journals about their language learning, and their topics were analyzed according to the amount of requests for "input," or specific requests for more information. The results showed the younger students talked about input more than four times as much as the older students. Older adults' requests for changes in instructional elements accounted for over ten times as much journal content. Analysis of classroom inquiry showed the younger learners asked more about vocabulary and the older learners requested complete phrase repetition more often. It is suggested that: (1) older learners do not focus on input in language learning as much as younger learners do; (2) while younger learners are more concerned with what they are responsible for learning, older learners focus on its presentation; (3) there may not be a significant difference in individual requests per class; and (4) younger learners are more specific in their requests for input. (MSE)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the University of Michigan Conference on Applied Linguistics (10th, Ann Arbor, MI, October 28-30, 1983).