The Second Language Instruction ( Sli ) Essay

The Second Language Instruction ( Sli ) Essay

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In second language instruction (SLI), the role of one’s first language (L1) is often questioned: is it helpful? Does the L1 hinder the progress of second language (L2) learners? This article will discuss the possible effects of L1 on the L2 of learners and how these effects manifest themselves in the classroom construct. I will be discussing Victoria Murphy’s 2004 study of native English-speakers and ESL learners and their strategies for determining how to form the past tense of nonce English words. Her results showed that proximity to English aided students in identifying irregular nonce verbs as having morphological changes similar to English (i.e. English sink, sank). Her study itself was based upon the work of Pinker and the connectionist view of a dual-mechanism/associative model for language. My hope is to apply Murphy’s findings in a future study of French-language learners.
Introduction
My study will focus on French instead of English and use the passé composé instead of the English simple past, but ignoring the auxiliary for the sake of simplicity (i.e. either être or avoir will be given to the student). The goal of the experiment is to see if L1 speakers of English, Chinese, and French will have significantly different strategies for creating a French past participle from French nonce words. The first two languages both form their past tenses differently and with varying degree of similarity and/or difference to/from French.
In studying grammatical judgment, we may be able to hypothesize how language learners deal with L1 similarities in the classroom. Depending on the profoundness of the effect found in the study, should instructors alter their input to embrace or reject L1 similarities? I will first discus...


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...m these instances within the language classroom, one may extrapolate the knowledge that learners do indeed code switch in the language learning environment and not simply within the natural conversational setting.
While the theory of MLFM has many proponents and purported examples in language usage, counter theories adhere to governance and binding (GB) theory, which allow for maximum projections under X-bar theory. However, these counter models are deemed “too powerful” and general by Myers-Cotton. She feels that the switching of frames would undoubtedly be necessary with almost every new sentence as the combination of both syntaxes would require “mapping out” all possible tree routes in internal processing. This is to say that language learners would have to have separate mappings of French and English simultaneously when seeking to speak in both languages.


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