ERIC Number: ED338018
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1990
Learning a Foreign Language in a Natural Acquisition Context without Instruction.
Toegepaste Taalwetenschap in Artikelen (Applied Linguistics in Articles), n36 p7-15 1990
The early stages of second language learning in everyday communication, without formal instruction, are examined. It is proposed that in such a situation, the learner draws on: (1) second language input; (2) innate human capacity for learning languages; and (3) native language knowledge. The linguist's typical approach to investigating language learning through observation in these contexts might involve noting patterns and considering several hypotheses about learning processes, but this is not observation of what really happens. A 6-year project on second language acquisition by adult immigrants focusing on relationships in specific native/target language combinations illustrates that researchers should look more closely at how the learner approaches the target language, not how theoretical linguists describe the process. In this study, a small pilot investigation on the ways in which individuals retold the plot of a film was used to develop methods and observations. Subsequently, information gathered on the constraints determining utterance structure was used in a larger study. Analysis focused on six domains: expression of time; expression of space; development of utterance structure; lexical growth; feedback in native-non-native interaction; and reasons for misunderstanding. Individual variation in learning can give insight into learning stage and native language characteristics. A 29-item bibliography is included. (MSE)
Publication Type: Journal Articles
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: In: "Balance & Perspectives: 25 Years of Dutch Applied Linguistics" (see FL 019 532).