Input and Interaction

Topics: Linguistics, Second language acquisition, Language acquisition Pages: 6 (1909 words) Published: June 25, 2013
For this purpose we will borrow Ellis' definition of input as "target language samples to which the learner is exposed. It contains the raw data which the learner has to work on in the process of interlanguage construction. We will understand interaction as "the process of interpersonal communication”

2. Input and learning
The role of input comprehension has been of prime importance in second language acquisition (SLA) research and theory, especially during the past two decades. This has been motivated by the belief that a learner’s exposure to the target language is not in itself a sufficient condition for second language (L2) acquisition. From Corder’s (1967) early claims of input and intake to Krashen’s (1982) Input Hypothesis and Long’s (1983, 1996) Interaction Hypothesis, there has been a widespread conviction that input must be comprehended by the learner if it is to assist the acquisition process. Most studies which have examined the role of input in second language learning are in agreement on the fundamental importance of this element in the process of learning. A fundamental condition, according to several authors (for instance Krashen and Spolsky) is that input has to be sufficient in terms of quantity. Thus it would seem that the more the learner is exposed to the target language, the more he/she will learn. Without this amount of input interference or transfer can occur as well as fossilization.

2.1 Three potential sources of comprehensible input

The first kind is characterized by input that has been modified or simplified in some way before the learner sees or hears it. This can be repetitions, paraphrase of words or sentences, and reduction of sentence length and complexity etc. One example of modified input is The Foreigner talk. Foreigner Talk (FT) is the language used by native speakers when addressing non-native speakers and trying to communicate with them. A first important distinction we can draw in FT is its grammaticality or ungrammaticality. Native speakers often switch to ungrammatical speech when addressing learners in the belief that it makes language simpler and thus promotes communication. Ungrammatical Foreigner Talk occurs especially in natural environments, grammatical FT is the norm in most classrooms and instructional environments. Grammatical FT has: simplification, regularization, and elaboration. Leaving aside the grammaticality of modifications, studies of FT have recently switched their attention from linguistic to interactional modifications, which occur in FT even when the former do not. These type of modifications can be further divided into discourse management (any modification directed at preventing the occurrence of communication problems), and discourse repair (occurs when a communication breakdown has taken place or there has been an error in a learner utterance). Another input modification is the Teacher Talk. The "special" language used by teachers in the classroom. The main features of this type are: the quantity of teacher talk which learners are exposed to; the modifications which teachers make to their speech in the classroom; and the types of questions which teachers put to learners (they make interaction in the classroom easier by clearly establishing the topic, by forcing students to speak; IRF, display question and referential questions, and open-closed questions). The last modified input is the Interlanguage Talk. It consists of the language that learners receive as input when addressed by other learners. ILT constitutes the primary source of input for many learners, especially in meaning-focused classes. The two main features of ILT are that it contains extensive negotiation of meaning, more than in FT discourse-, it is less grammatical overall than FT or teacher talk. 3. Input and language acquisition

Ellis made a classification into: reception-based hypotheses, which emphasize the importance of input as opposed to...
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