ERIC Number: ED394336
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1996-Jan-29
Early Foreign Language Learning: The Biological Perspective.
A discussion of the biological and developmental issues in early second language learning first looks at psycholinguistic research on brain growth patterns and the relationship of first and second language learning. Focus is on three phenomena observed in the self-organization of living systems: selection of input data; organization of specialized systems; and the different states that order systems assume in the course of development. Psycho- and pragmalinguistic data suggest that additional languages develop and dissociate with varying intensity and speed depending on: (1) the biological, cognitive, linguistic, and emotional conditions of the individual child and (2) the onset and efficiency of the second language program. Examples of instances of early second language development illustrate the processes and stages of pattern generation in the individual linguistic domains and provide guidelines for assessment of language development. The role of input is then explored, particularly the variety of cues teachers might use to stimulate age-specific dispositions and to facilitate pattern formation. Special attention is given to variation within a single classroom. The impact of deficient input is also discussed. It is concluded that the natural approach to language learning is most appropriate developmentally. Contains 38 references. (MSE)
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Reports - Evaluative; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Council for Cultural Cooperation, Strasbourg (France).
Note: Background paper for the Educational Research Workshop on the Effectiveness of Modern Language Learning and Teaching (Graz, Austria, March 5-8, 1996).