Order of Aquisition and Developmental Readiness

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AN OVERVIEW OF APPROACHES AND METHODS IN ENGLISH LANGUAGE TEACHING

ORDER OF AQUISITION AND DEVELOPMENTAL READINESS

Introduction

Studies concerning natural order are very important for determining order in which certain morphemes of a language are acquired by the speakers. Some of the first researches were done in the 1970s and 1980s when linguists were mainly trying to uncover the evidence which would support the innatist theory about language acquisition. One of the most influential men in this field of study was Stephen Krashen who, in 1980s, proposed 5 hypothesis, regarding the second language acquisition, which were known as the Monitor model. The one relevant for the order of acquisition is the natural order hypothesis in which he stated that certain grammatical structures are acquired earlier than others. Guided by these theories, researchers were prone to conduct quite a number of studies dealing with order of the first language acquisition and the second language acquisition. Most results of the researches led to a conclusion that the first language acquisition and second language acquisition were not at all random processes but rather that they were a systematic one, and what was more surprising was that the course of acquisition of first and second language was almost identical even thou it varied in some minor aspects.

Development and Research in L1 and L2 Acquisition

It is known that children start to develop language skills simultaneously with other skills such as cognition, socialization, communication and motor skills, and on the other hand when adults acquire second language they already have cognitive skills developed but some communicative and social routines may develop concurrently when second language acquisition is taken into the account. There are two main ways of studying language acquisition. We have longitudinal studies which take a serious amount of time and devotion and they show how the language is developed over a period of time and are primarily used for the first language acquisition. The length of these studies is not a constant but it depends on the resources which are available to the study and also the participants who are involved in it. The other type of studies are cross-sectional studies which are more convenient for second language acquisition research since the longitudinal studies, although more informative, are harder to conduct because some of the learners might leave the program before the study is finished. The cross-sectional studies are concerned with investigating language acquisition by learners who are of different proficiency levels and then work on the presumption that what is observed reflects the development of language acquisition over a period of time. In 1973 R. Brown was one of the pioneer researchers in the field of language acquisition. Namely, he conducted a research regarding the order in which morphemes of the first language were acquired by three children who were native speakers of American English. Two of them, Adam and Sarah were 27 months old, and another one, Eve, was 18 months old, at the beginning of the study. The length of the study varied, Eve participated for about a year and Adam and Sarah were involved in the study for four years. Since Brown had an opportunity to commit sufficient amount of time to this research he managed to chart the order in which 14 English language morphemes, in the first language acquisition, were acquired. (Table 1.1)

Table 1.1 Order of acquisition of 14 morphemes for English L1 (Brown,1973: 278) |Morpheme |Example | |1 Present progressive |+ing | |2 – 3 Prepositions...
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