L1 First Language Acquisition or How Do Children Learn to Speak? Bridget Green MFWI Extension Linguistics 2007; based on a handout by Maggie Dale First Language Acquisition First stage Babbling 5-10 months Consonant + vowel input You are such a beautiful baby. output At first, all babies babble in the same way no Ba! matter what language they hear! First Language Acquisition Begins to demonstrate comprehension… “Silent Period” Kisses! Where’s your belly? Wanna go bye-bye? Where’s the fish/kitty/birdie? Get a book and I’ll read to you. No, thank you! (Does.) (Points.) (Gets her coat.) (Points.) (Does.)Not silent! (Stops doing she’s doing.) Baga bow ri?what Dada mama baba! Now, babies babble only in sounds that they hear in their language! First Language Acquisition Second stage Begins production 12-18 months One word ‘sentences’ like “Mama”, “Dada”, “Baba” become real words… (14 months) Echoes: “Say, More please.” Nya Nya! “Night, night.” Nie Nie. (On the ‘phone’) Doh? (Seeing a hot fire) Ta! First Language Acquisition Third stage 18 months - 2 years Two word sentences Da mohk! Ah dun. Ah gahn. Wa pipuh? Ah me peez. Towtee. Who da peepoh? But what does it mean? The milk! All done. All gone. Where’s the paper? Help me, please. It’s dirty. Who are those people? First Language Acquisition Third stage 18 months - 2 years Two word sentences Da mohk! Ah dun. Ah gahn. Wa pipuh? Ah me peez. Towtee. Who da peepoh? Nouns and verbs are first! First Language Acquisition Fourth stage 2 years - 5 years Full sentences Is it Papa van? Where’d Papa go? Papa goed away in Papa van. Wow! They make a lot of mistakes don’t they? First Language Acquisition ALL children go through the SAME stages in ALL languages. They all go through in the same order. Full sentences Two word sentences One word sentences (Demonstrates comprehension) Babbling in L1 sounds Babbling in all sounds the ‘silent’ period First Language Acquisition ALL children go through the SAME stages in ALL languages. They all go through in the same order. articles +s She runs. It’s a ball. irregular past ‘s Daddy’s hat. He went. plural -s Tcont nouns/ verbs Mommy running books This is called the order of acquisition. How Languages are Learned Patsy Lightbown and Nina Spada, OUP, 1993 First Language Acquisition ALL children go through the SAME stages in ALL languages. BUT How do children learn a language? First Language Acquisition IMITATE? Children imitate their mother (or their caregivers). Polly want a cracker? Polly want a cracker? First Language Acquisition IMITATE? Children imitate their mother (or their caregivers). Papa went to the store. Papa went to the store. Really? Remember this? Is it Papa’s van? Where’d Papa go? Papa goed away in Papa’s van. Is that Papa’s van? Where did Papa go? Papa went away in his van? Parents never say ‘goed’. Why do children? First Language Acquisition Children don’t just imitate their caregiver. Children have a ‘language acquisition device’? …like a computer in their brain… They learn a language by trying to understand the rules, by experimenting. First Language Acquisition What’s happening? Papa goed away? cry cried love loved go goed This is called ‘over-generalization’. It means that you learn a rule and then you apply that rule every time. First Language Acquisition What’s happening? Zeke: (Holding up a shirt) Is this my clo’? boy boys path paths clo clothes ‘over-generalization’ The child tries new things to see if they work, to see if people understand. First Language Acquisition Bridget: Ceilan, you are beautiful! Ceilan: Why arm I? ‘over-generalization’ he is is he? they are are they? you are are I are my arm I Eventually, the child learns to speak correctly. But correcting doesn’t work! First Language Acquisition The most important thing is the message, not the grammar or pronunciation. Ceilan: I can’t pit it in. Bridget: Put it in. Ceilan: I can’t! correcting her pronunciation… continues with her message Correcting doesn’t work! First Language Acquisition Children use learning strategies… The listener doesn’t understand. Ceilan: Izit dafai, Mama? Bridget: What’s a dafai? Ceilan: Da fai! Da fai! Da bug? A bug? Izat a fai? Bridget: Yes, that’s a fly. The child doesn’t give up; she ‘talks around’, she explains her message. First Language Acquisition So… So a child just needs input to learn a language? No! A child needs interaction and communication with humans! Second Language Acquisition L2 How do adults learn a second language? Second Language Acquisition Is L1 the same as L2? Yes! No! Yes and no! Second Language Acquisition Is L1 the same as L2? Some things are the same • Adults need interaction and communication. •Adults learn slowly. •Adults make a lot of mistakes while they’re learning. •Adults also have an order of acquisition. Really? Second Language Acquisition ALLadults ALL adults gogo through through almost thethe SAME SAME stages stages in in ALL ALLlanguages. languages. They all go through in the almost same theorder. same order. longer sentences short sentences (Demonstrates comprehension) Demonstrates comprehension Babbling in L1 sounds Babbling in all sounds the silent period? Second Language Acquisition +s They all go through in (almost) the same order. She runs. articles It’s a ball. irregular past ‘s Daddy’s hat. He went. plural -s Tcont nouns/ verbs Mommy running books It depends little bit This is calleda the on your order ofL1. acquisition. How Languages are Learned Patsy Lightbown and Nina Spada, OUP, 1993 A child learning a first language (L1) or an Can you guess who said it? L1 or L2? adult learning a second language (L2)? 1. I was fighting with one of my friend. L2 - adult 2. Here are some flowers for your anniversity. L1 - child 3. How much o'clock is it? L1 - child 4. I don't have nothing to say. L2 and L1! 5. I don't like that one - it's unpretty. L1 - child 6. I readed it last night. L1 - child 7. Mermaid is fish and girl. L1 - child 8. Phew! I'm exhausting! L2 and L1! 9. What he is doing in Africa? L1 - child 10.You are not understand why they are doing that. L2 - adu Second Language Acquisition But children can learn a language better than adults do, right? Not really! Except pronunciation! How Languages are Learned Patsy Lightbown and Nina Spada, OUP, 1993 Second Language Acquisition Adults can learn from correction… Adult: I can’t pit it in. Teacher: Put it in. Adult: Put it in. correcting her pronunciation… making the correction Correcting works! Second Language Acquisition Adult’s advantages Children’s advantages • No ‘babbling’ time • Surrounded by input • Can organize information (=study!) • Not afraid of making mistakes • Wants to learn from corrections • Always trying • ‘Play’ with language Adults who act ‘child-like’ learn the fastest! How Languages are Learned Patsy Lightbown and Nina Spada, OUP, 1993 Second Language Acquisition Adults who act ‘child-like’ learn the fastest! This is where personality comes in… Learners have to make mistakes to learn. Learners who make mistakes Learnerslearn who are afraid make mistakes from theirto mistakes, can’t learn from their mistakes, so they learn faster. so they learn more slowly. Second Language Acquisition personality open talkative risky unembarrassed curious outgoing unafraid But what if that’s not ME? Second Language Acquisition personality systematic hard-working very observant willing to learn a reader I can do THAT! First Language Acquisition Second Language Acquisition What are the stages of first language acquisition? What are the stages of second language acquisition? What is the ‘order of acquisition’? Is it the same for L1 and L2? What is one difference? What is ‘over-generalization’? What advantages do adults have learning an L2? How important is personality?