Language Acquistion Theory

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Language Acquisition Theory
Grand Canyon University
July 24, 2013

Language Acquisition Theory
After reading and rereading the article by Palmer, there were many conclusions made. There has been a great struggle for English language learners to translate phrases that American English speakers do not think very much about. For example, these phrases could be “eats like a horse” or “he has egg in his face.” Figurative language such as this is a strenuous to understand for these students. Culture backgrounds prevent English language learners, from understanding and comprehending idioms. Even as English language learners become more efficient in the classroom they will always challenges with figurative language in school and outside of school. Figurative language is used mostly in Spanish speaking students are the most rapid growing group in schools in the United States. A report that was done in 1999 stated that one in six students between the ages of 14-19 either spoke another language other than English or were from another country. These students struggle greatly because the schools believe they learn English faster than they do or the English language is unclear due to phrases that are figurative. Another report in 1989 stated that 11.5% of lectures in the classroom had figurative language. Shocking enough the report also stated that 1 out of 10 words were idioms. English language learners have a difficult time translating these phrases because idioms do not easily translate from one language to another. In the English language one word can take on so many meanings which put up so many walls for the student while learning. Students need appropriate teaching to overcome these obstacles. When student do not understand figurative language it can interrupt the student from comprehending what they are reading. In return the student loses their ability to want to read more. English language learners may also stop listening because when figurative language is spoken they do not understand and it minimizes what they are hearing. It is so important for young people to learn figurative language because it is used so much in their conversations. It is important for teachers to implement instruction designated just for figurative language. English language students are often translators for their parents and other family members. They translate at home, schools, doctors, malls and anywhere the family may need to communicate. As far as figurative language is concerned, English language learners cannot always interpret these phrases. Many students pretend to understand idioms by smiling, knowing their head or even changing the subject. When students do know understand figurative language it influences their ability to comprehend English in school and in social environment. Teacher use many methods to help student learn figurative language. Clear instruction begins by explaining the goals to learn figurative language. Reading teachers can teach a three-step prose for interpreting figurative language. First the student try’s to find the figurative language, next to try to understand the literal meaning of the phrase and lastly to try to find the actual meaning of the phrase. Once a student understands the significance of learning a figurate language in English, students will be enthusiastic to learn more and more phrases. The student will then add a fourth step to try to relate the importance of the phrase related to their own life. Some students miss many opportunities by not understanding English phrases. This is unfortunate for the student and that is why steps have been put in place to help these students understand figurative language. When phrases are broken down word by word students can start to understand what the phrase may mean when in all actuality the phrase does not makes sense at all. Once a visual idea of the phrase is recognized...
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