Second language (L2)
acquisition
December 3, 2008
Second language (L2) acquisition
Refers to research involving
 Simultaneous bilinguals (learned two languages at the
same time)
 Developmental bilingualism (learned second
language in childhood)
 Adult bilingualism (learned L2 in adulthood)
 Multilingualism (learned more than 2 languages)
Researchers can refer to anyone who has or is learning a
second language as a “bilingual”
Methods of Analyzing L2 acquisition
1.
2.
3.
4.
Corpora
Surveys/interviews
Experimental
Observations
Second Language Acquisition
Typical research questions:
1.
What kinds of classroom techniques are best for
teaching/learning L2? (observations)
2.
What kinds of errors do L2 learners make and why
do they make them? (corpora)
3.
What makes someone a good/bad L2 learner?
(surveys)
4.
Is there an optimal age to learn a second language?
(experimental)
5.
What happens in the mind/brain when learning a
second language? (experimental-brain imaging)
6.
Does learning an L2 “mess up” the L1?
(experimental-brain imaging)
1. Corpora
CHILDES: http://childes.psy.cmu.edu/
Databank of transcripts, audio and video (or all
three) of children playing with caretakers
Provided for several different languages.
 http://childes.psy.cmu.edu/data/local.html

CHILDES example
1. Corpora







ICE: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/english-usage/ice/
CLC:
http://www.cambridge.org/elt/corpus/learner_corpus2.htm
MICASE: http://lw.lsa.umich.edu/eli/micase/index.htmM
ELISA: http://www.unituebingen.de/elisa/html/elisa_index.html
CLEC: http://langbank.engl.polyu.edu.hk/corpus/clec.html
ICLE:
http://www.i6doc.com/I6Doc/WebObjects/I6Doc.woa/wa/Doc
umentDA/document?language=FR&d=1005662
LCorpus: http://leo.meikai.ac.jp/~tono/lcorpuslist.html
1. Corpora
For your corpus determine
1.
Spoken or written?
2.
Tagged or untagged?
3.
How many words?
4.
Native or non-native English or both?
5.
What kind of texts?
6.
If allowed, briefly browse the corpus—what kinds
of research questions could be answered by using
this corpus?
2. Surveys/interviews
Some surveys used in L2 acquisition research:
1.
The Foreign Language Classroom Anxiety
Scale (FLAS)
2.
Beliefs about language learning inventory
(BALLI)
3.
Modern Language Aptitude Test (MLAT)
4.
Strategy Inventory for Language Learning
(SILL)
5.
Myers-Briggs Personality Scale
3. Experimental
Most experiments we have talked about in class
have also been used to examine L2
learners/bilinguals
Experiments we haven’t looked at yet:
a.
Grammaticality Judgment Tests
b.
Brain imaging
a. Grammaticality Judgment Tests
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
Carol is cook dinner for her family.
Sharon is babysitting for hers neighbor.
Tom is reading book in the bathtub.
Janice is following a special recipe for the cake.
Larry went the home after the party.
The man allows his son watch T.V.
I want you will go the store now.
He came my house at six o’clock.
Has the king been served his dinner?
Did washed you your car this week?
a. Grammaticality Judgment Tests
a. Grammaticality Judgment Tests
Lexically based sentences:



The farmers were hoping rain.
Larry went the home after the party.
The girls enjoy to feed the ducks.
Rule-based sentences:



The girl cooks dinner for her family last night.
Three boys played on the swings in the park.
The girl cut himself on a piece of glass.
Flege, Yeni-Komshian, & Liu (1999). Journal of Memory and Language.
a. Grammaticality Judgment Tests
Chronological age:
Use of English and Korean:
Years of residence in the U.S.:
Years of education in the U.S.:
r = .68
r = - .56 and .66
r = - .42
r = - .92
Flege, Yeni-Komshian, & Liu (1999). Journal of Memory and Language.
b. Brain imaging
Two types of Brain Imaging
A. Electromagnetic Techniques

ERP: Event-related potentials

MEG: Magneto-encephalography
Measurements: ERP & MEG are direct
measures of neural activity

The activity of groups of neurons can
be picked up directly
B. Hemondynamic Techniques

PET: Positron Emission Topography

fMRI: functional Magnetic
Resonance Imaging
Measurements: PET & fMRI are
indirect measures of neural activity

Blood flow increases as activity
increases
C. Aphasia
A. ERPs
A. ERPs
Examines Electrical Pulses while
listening to/seeing language
Can examine ways that listeners process language (even
violations) See variation of normal and non-normal language processing
A. ERPs
Do musicians have an advantage for learning a language?
Participants: Adults: 9 musicians et 9 non-musicians
Task : is last note / word strange ?
Remember : can measure if listeners can “pick up”
incongruous language
Weak = slight strangeness
Strong=strong strangeness
Event-Related brain Potentials
Music
Musicians
Non-musicians
-10 µV
500 ms
Cz
Cz
Strong incongruity
Congruous
Weak incongruity
+10
-10
Musicians
Non-musicians
Music (Cz)
500 ms
OK
Weak
Strong
-7 µV
Language (Cz)
(Schön, Magne & Besson, Psychophysiology, 2004)
B. Brain Imaging
what fMRI pictures look like. . .
b. Brain imaging
Are your two languages going to be located in different
areas of the brain depending on when you learned
your L2?
Kim, Reilkin, Lee, & Hirsch, 1997
 Early bilinguals (childhood, before age 8)
 Late bilinguals (adulthood, mostly after age 20)
 Task, imagine describing a scenario in one language
vs. another
 fMRI scans during imagined speaking task
b. Brain imaging
Kim, Relkin, Kim, & Hirsch (1997). Nature.
b. Brain imaging
Kim, Relkin, Kim, & Hirsch (1997). Nature.
Late bilingual brain
b. Brain imaging
Kim, Relkin, Kim, & Hirsch (1997). Nature.
Early bilingual brain
b. Brain imaging
What if you heard Korean your first 3 years of
life, then were adopted, then are re-exposed to
Korean—can you recognize it? Does your
brain process it as language?
Ventureyra , Pallier & Hi-Yon Yoo (2004):
Native French and native “Korean” speakers
listened to Polish, Japanese and Korean . . .
Can you perceive a language you
haven’t heard for a long time?
No—French group never exposed to Korean perceives
voiceless Korean consonants just like Korean group
c. Aphasia
How does aphasia affect bilinguals?
Ways that languages can be recovered in
Bilingual Aphasia (Paradis, 1989)
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
Synergistic
Antagonistic
Successive
Selective
Mixed
49%
4%
6%
27%
12%
Ojemann and Bilingual Aphasia
Dutch-English bilingual—learned English at 23
when came to live in U.S.-surgery at 30
Ojemann and Bilinguals
English-Spanish bilingual—learned Spanish at
age 6 from Grandmother—had surgery at 21
Ojemann and Bilingual Aphasia
Results:
1.
2.
3.
There are some areas that serve both
languages
There are some areas that serve only one
language or the other
The first language seems less diffuse than the
second
4. Observations
Classroom observations
http://elc.byu.edu/teachers_resources/reading/vid
eos/jacob_udall4/ls_video_jacob_udall.html
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