English 803 Class Notes Story Observations 1/22/08 Difficulties in using foreign/second language



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English 803 Class Notes


Story Observations

1/22/08
Difficulties in using foreign/second language


  • Just how difficult that task is

  • Size of the mental challenge

  • Why is it so easy to learn a first language

  • 5 or 6 years to learn—lots of hours; time is the factor?

  • Children as language learners

Learning processes are different

This is an apple. This is a noun.—added structure to terms; might depend on method of teaching—often formalized in school

Acquisition vs. learning— unconscious (unaware of the rules) vs. conscious

Pressure to succeed in learning a second language/testing and prestige—meta language

Age plays a key role—native language before 7? Fossilization—age as continuum

Measuring our own progress

Goal: communication vs. mastery

Standard vs. non-standard

My English—is it any better than anyone else’s?
Native language—a way to express solidarity with family/group

Marginalizing of languages

Mandarin/Taiwanese—not allowed in school

Bilingual—punishment if speaking the wrong thing—negative reinforcement/motivation



Childhood learning resonates for a lifetime

Emotions having this impact

Communicative vs. grammatical accuracy

Atsushi’s story—focus on grammar for exam in Japan—in US, work to communicate; quit worrying about mistakes; compliment how well you’ve learned the language

Our judgments about language use are always at play
Cultural elements attached to language

--control culture through language

--strip people of culture by taking away language

--laws against language

--language as a control mechanism

Idea only exists in one language?—language tied to a concept; untranslatable due to context—variation within language

Groups perceive their language based on their environment

Religious connotation of language in daily expression; allah willing



Time

Whether or not a rule is real or correct, we think that way




Environment’s impact/construction on language

Difficulties other people have learning our native language




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