The Audio - Lingual Method
The Audio-Lingual Method, like the Direct Method we examined, has a goal very different from that of the Grammar-Translation Method. The Audio-Lingual Method was developed in the United States during World War II. At that time there was a need for people to learn foreign languages rapidly for military purposes.
As we have seen, the Grammar-Translation Method did not prepare people to use the target language. While communication in the target language was the goal of the Direct Method, there were at the time exciting new ideas about language and learning emanating(produce or show) from the disciplines of descriptive linguistics and behavioral psychology. These ideas led to the development of the Audio-Lingual Method.
Some of the principles are similar to those of the Direct Method, but many are different, having been based upon conceptions of language and learning from these two disciplines. Theory of language
The theory of language underlying Audiolingualism was derived from a view proposed by American linguists in the 1950s - a view that came to be known as structural linguistics. Linguistics had emerged as a flourishing academic discipline in the 1950s, and the structural theory of language constituted its backbone. Structural linguistics had developed in part as a reaction to traditional grammar.
Many nineteenth-century language scholars had viewed modern European languages as corruptions of classical grammar, and languages from other parts of the world were viewed as primitive and underdeveloped.
By the 1930s, the scientific approach to the study of language was thought to consist of collecting examples of what speakers said and analyzing them according to different levels of structural organization rather than according to categories of Latin grammar. In 1961 the American linguist William Moulton, in a report prepared for the 9th International Congress of Linguists, proclaimed the linguistic principles on which language teaching methodology should be based: • Language is speech, not writing.
• Language is a set of habits.
• Teach the language, not about the language.
• Language is what its native speakers say, not what someone thinks they ought to say.... . • Languages are different (quoted in Rivers 1964: 5).
But a method cannot be based simply on a theory of language. It also needs to refer to the psychology of learning and to learning theory. It is to this aspect of Audiolingualism that we now turn.
Principles of the Audio-Lingual Method
▪ The native language and the target language have separate linguistic systems. They should be kept apart so that the students' native language interferes as little as possible with the students' attempts to acquire the target language. (The language teacher uses only the target language in the classroom. Actions, pictures, or realia are used to give meaning otherwise). ▪ One of the language teacher's major roles is that of a model of the target language. Teachers should provide students with a native-speaker-like model. By listening to how it is supposed to sound, students should be able to mimic the model(The language teacher introduces the dialogue by modeling it two times; she introduces the drills by modeling the correct answers; at other times, she corrects mispronunciation by modeling the proper sounds in the target language). ▪ Language learning is a process of habit formation. The more often something is repeated, the stronger the habit and the greater the learning (The students repeat each line of the new dialogue several times). ▪ The purpose of language learning is to learn how to use the language to communicate (The teacher initiates a chain drill in which each student greets another). ▪ Particular parts of speech occupy particular "slots" in sentences. In order to create new sentences, students must learn which part of speech occupies which slot(The...
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