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Prof. M. Tayyab Iqbal M.A. Eng. M.A. TEFL. M.A. Linguistics.

Lahore, Pakistan

Q.No. topic page #

--- Dedication 3
1 What is language? 4
1 Status of Language 5
1 Components of Language 6
1 More Components 8
1 Function of Language 9
2 Theories of Language 11
2 Behaviorist Theory 11
2 Operating principle of Behaviorist Theory 14
2 Mentalist Theory 15
2 Main Features of Mentalist Theory 16
3 Factors that affect Foreign Language Acquisition 19
3 Affect of AGE 20
3 Affect of gender 20
3 Affect of Intelligence 20
3 Affect of Aptitude 21
3 Affect of Personality 21
3 Affect of Anxiety 21
3 Motivation and Attitudes 21
4 Grammar Translation Method 23
4 Advantages of GTM 24
4 Disadvantages of GTM 24
4 Communicative Approach 26
4 Communicative Activities 28
4 Four styles 29
Q.No. topic page #

5 Role of teacher 32
Prof. M. Tayyab Iqbal M.A. Eng. M.A. TEFL. M.A. Linguistics. Lahore, Pakistan

5 Student centered 32
5 Similarities between 1L & 2L Learning 33
5 Stages of Learning 1L & 2L 34
5 Acquisition Order 35

Prof. M. Tayyab Iqbal M.A. Eng. M.A. TEFL. M.A. Linguistics. Lahore, Pakistan

I dedicate this piece of work

to those
who are working for the
progress and prosperity
of beloved country

Pakistan ,
whether in the field of
research, medicine or any other field.
And the most important field of all is

May Allay make our teachers more and more
to the country and this profession.

Describe language in terms of your own understanding.
Also discuss the components.
Prof. M. Tayyab Iqbal M.A. Eng. M.A. TEFL. M.A. Linguistics. Lahore, Pakistan

In human society communication between people is a necessity of
life. Human beings use a variety of means of communication, for all of
which they have devised ‘systems of signification’. The most distinctively
human communication system of all, however, is verbal language. Verbal
language is usually simply referred to as ‘language’, although other such
‘systems of communication’, both human and animal, are also regularly
called ‘languages’.
(Verbal) language is by far the most elaborate and complex of all
languages. Moreover, it appears in many different shapes. Mankind has
developed thousands of languages, many of which are so wide apart that
they are mutually unintelligible. Language is of prime importance in
communication among individuals and between groups of people. Most
individuals are born into and brought up in only one language.
Communication between (groups of) people with different language
backgrounds is always to a greater or lesser extent problematic. Nations
and communities the members of which are native to a number of
different languages may have grave internal communication problems to
cope with. In plurilingual societies and communities language(s) and
language use planning is a first requirement.
Language is also fundamental in forming and expressing both
individual and group identities. Human beings at a very young age
become so much accustomed to the language of their surroundings that
they lose the natural capacity to properly perceive the sound system of all
other languages. They feel at one with their mother-tongue’; the language
in question forms part of the individual’s identity. Similarly, people who
share the same language tend to look upon that language as an essential
element of their group identity. It is not unusual for conflicts between
groups to centre around or culminate in a linguistic conflict. Not only is
learning of –and communicating in- other languages a hard job to achieve
for most people, but the adoption itself of such languages also often
meets with feelings of emotional resistance. Therefore, there are
Prof. M. Tayyab Iqbal M.A. Eng. M.A. TEFL. M.A. Linguistics. Lahore, Pakistan

language and language use problems at a variety of levels and in a great

variety of domains. Arrangements for all these levels and domains all –
one way or an other require language political decisions. When it comes
to ‘learning to live together’, from a politician’s point of view the most
pressing language problem-areas in human society may well be: (1) the
‘status’ of languages, nationally and internationally, (2) the language(s) of
instruction, (3) foreign language(s) instruction, and (4) language learning
and teaching strategies. In each of these areas important developments
may be observed and many political
decisions wait to be taken.
1. National and international status of languages:
‘Status’ issues occur both within and between nations, i.e. on
national and international levels. The following discussion is arranged in
around this distinction, basically. One or two points, however, apply to
both levels. In language planning discussions ‘status’ has always been
very prominent. For further information on the issues dealt with here the
reader may be referred to Kaplan & Baldauf (1997) and Wright (2000).
The internal language situation differs widely from nation to nation.
Whether a country is classified as ‘monolingual’, ‘bilingual’ or
‘plurilingual’, greatly depends first of all on what one’s definition of
‘language’ is. Language is a phenomenon that appears in many forms.
Well known are the geographical variants that are called ‘dialects’ of the
‘main language’, but there are also language variants, or ‘dialects’, that
are associated with social groups, from vernacular to ‘chic’ and ‘posh’.
Moreover, there are specialised language variants: almost every
occupational group has its own specific variant, which at least
distinguishes itself from other variants by a jargon of its own. In this
paragraph we restrict ourselves to the geographical dimension.
Only very few countries are truly monolingual; some countries
pretend to be monolingual – usually by ignoring or underplaying the
existence of minority languages, whether indigenous or brought in by
immigrants. Most countries, therefore, are pluri- or multilingual.
Multilingual countries display great variety in their choice of the
Prof. M. Tayyab Iqbal M.A. Eng. M.A. TEFL. M.A. Linguistics. Lahore, Pakistan

language(s) of national intercourse. Often a choice is made for one

language, occasionally for two or three. The language chosen is usually
spoken by a majority of the population. But, sometimes either one of the
few contemporary ‘international’ languages is adopted –very often the
former colonial language, in many cases English or French-, or a, more
neutral, ‘lingua franca’.

Components of Language:

Detail of all the components of language one by one:

Phonetics is the scientific study of the production, transformation and reception of speech
sounds. It is concerned with the actual nature of the sounds and their production, as opposed to
phonology, which operates at the level of sound systems and linguistic unit.
As opposed to phonology, the study of sound only, phonemic awareness,
refers to more than awareness of sounds. Even children born deaf possess the
phonological processing abilities and can learn phonemic awareness.
The phonemic awareness skills are falsely referred to as “phonics.”
“Phonics” is a linguistically incorrect term because it only refers to sound, not to
the print relationship associated with its skill requirements.

The study of speech structure within a language, including both the
patterns of basic speech units and the accepted rules of pronunciation, is known
as phonology. The smallest units of sound that make up a language are called
phonemes. For example, the word “cat” contains three phonemes the “c”
Prof. M. Tayyab Iqbal M.A. Eng. M.A. TEFL. M.A. Linguistics. Lahore, Pakistan

represents one phoneme /k/, the “a” maps to the short a sound / æ /, and the “t”

to its basic sound /t/.

Moving to the next level of language, we find the study of the smallest
units of meaning, morphemes. Morphemes include base words, such as “hat,”
“dog,” or “love,” as well as affixes, such as “un-,” “re-,” the plural “s” or “es,”
and the past tense “ed.” Knowledge of the morphology of our language is critical
to vocabulary development and reflects the smallest building blocks for

The study of how individual words and their most basic meaningful units
are combined to create sentences is known as syntax. As words are grouped
together when we communicate, we must follow the rules of grammar for our
language, in other words, its syntax. It is the knowledge of syntax that allows us
to recognize that the following two sentences, while containing different word
order and levels of complexity, have the same meaning.
• The boy hit the ball.
• The ball was hit by the boy.

Syntax also allows us to accept “I went to the store” as a meaningful

(grammatical) sentence while “To store went I” would not be acceptable English.

Not only does the grammatical structure of our language provide the
needed clues for understanding, we also have a wealth of figurative language
and rich description that adds color and nuance to our communication.
Semantics refers to the ways in which a language conveys meaning. It is our
understanding of semantics that allows us to recognize that someone who is
“green with envy” has not changed hue, or that “having cold feet” has less to do
with the appendage at the end of our legs and more to do with our anxiety about
a new experience. Because semantics moves beyond the literal meaning of
words and is culture-dependent, this is among the most difficult aspects of
language for individuals who are not native speakers and even those who speak
the same language but come from different cultures and convey meaning using
Prof. M. Tayyab Iqbal M.A. Eng. M.A. TEFL. M.A. Linguistics. Lahore, Pakistan

words in unique ways. Anyone who has attempted to converse with a teenager
in his own vernacular can appreciate the importance of sharing a semantic base
for communicating clearly.

Some other important components of language:

Pragmatics :
“Pragmatics’’ refers to the ways the members of the speech community
achieve their goals using language.” The way we speak to our parents is not the
same as the way we interact with a sibling, for example. The language used in a
formal speech may bear little resemblance to what we would hear at a lunch
with five friends. The conversational style of day-to-day interactions is quite
different from the language used even when reading a storybook to a toddler.
Knowing the difference and when to use which style is the essence of

Orthography refers to the system that a culture developed to represent
the pronunciation of its language in print. Originally, this may have been on tree
bark or on stonewalls, parchment or church walls. Today, since the invention of
the printing press, print is shared on paper with the public.
There are conventions for spelling the words we pronounce and
punctuation rules to make understanding of the printed words easier. We mark
direct speech (“…”) and the end of a statement (!?.). We also place commas to
help readers pause and understand otherwise confusing information better (see
Truss’ books on punctuation for students)

A grapheme is the printed version of a phoneme. It is the smallest unit of
print that carries meaning. While a phoneme refers to how a single sound in a
sequence of sounds can bring about a change in meaning, a grapheme causes
change in meaning as a single letter or letter pattern (gr-, -st). As with
phonemes, this can occur with graphemes at the beginning at the end and in the
middle of a word. For instance, since {can} means something different than
{ban} and these two words in print mean something different than {Stan}, the
print patterns (letters) {st}, {c}, and {b} are graphemes.
Prof. M. Tayyab Iqbal M.A. Eng. M.A. TEFL. M.A. Linguistics. Lahore, Pakistan

Functions of Language:

1. Informative language function: essentially, the communication of

a. The informative function affirms or denies propositions, as in science or
the statement of a fact..
b. This function is used to describe the world or reason about it (e.g..,
whether a state of affairs has occurred or not or what might have led to it).
c. These sentences have a truth value; that is, the sentences are either true or
false (recognizing, of course, that we might not know what that truth value
is). Hence, they are important for logic.
2. Expressive language function: reports feelings or attitudes of the writer (or
speaker), or of the subject, or evokes feelings in the reader (or listener).
a. Poetry and literature are among the best examples, but much of, perhaps
most of, ordinary language discourse is the expression of emotions, feelings
or attitudes.
b. Two main aspects of this function are generally noted: (1) evoking certain
feelings and (2) expressing feelings.
c. Expressive discourse, qua expressive discourse, is best regarded as neither
true or false. E.g., Shakespeare's King Lear's lament, "Ripeness is all!" or
Dickens' "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times; it was the age of
wisdom; it was the age of foolishness…" Even so, the "logic" of "fictional
statements" is an interesting area of inquiry.
3. Directive language function: language used for the purpose of causing (or
preventing) overt action.
a. The directive function is most commonly found in commands and requests.
b. Directive language is not normally considered true or false (although
various logics of commands have been developed).
c. Example of this function: "Close the windows." The sentence "You're
smoking in a nonsmoking area," although declarative, can be used to mean
"Do not smoke in this area."
Prof. M. Tayyab Iqbal M.A. Eng. M.A. TEFL. M.A. Linguistics. Lahore, Pakistan

Q.No.2. What are different theories of language? Discuss in the

light of various schools of thought.

There are some basic theories advanced to describe how language is acquired and
taught. The behaviorist theory, Mentalist theory, Rationalist theory (otherwise called
Cognitive theory), Empiricist theory (Audio-lingualism), and Cognitive-code theory are
some of these theories. Of these, behaviorist theory and mentalist theory are mainly
applicable to the acquisition of native languages while the rest can account for foreign
Prof. M. Tayyab Iqbal M.A. Eng. M.A. TEFL. M.A. Linguistics. Lahore, Pakistan

language acquisition. Yet, these five fundamental theories of language learning cannot be
totally divorced from each other, for "the objectives of second language learning are not
necessarily entirely determined by native language competence inevitably serves as a foil
against which to set second language learning." (H.H. Stem, .1983; 30).
Behaviorist Theory:
Behaviorist theory, which is basically a psychological theory in its essence, founded
by J.B. Watson, is actually a theory of native language learning, advanced in part as a
reaction to traditional grammar. The supporters of this theory are Leonard Bloomfield, O.N.
Mowrer, B.F. Skinner, and A.W. Staats.

Burrhus Frederic Skinner was born and raised in Susquehanna, Pennsylvania. He

earned his BA in English and hoped to be a writer. However, this profession did not work
out, and at the age of 24, he applied and was excepted to the psychology graduate program at
Harvard. Here he happened to meet William Crozier in the physiology department.

As he experimented with rats, Skinner noticed that the responses he was recording
were influenced not only by what preceded them but also by what followed them. The
common behavioral approach at the time was influenced by the work of Pavlov and Watson,
both of whom focused on the stimulus-response paradigm. Their form of classical
conditioning focused on what occurred prior to a response and how these stimuli affected
learning. Skinner, however, focused on what occurred after a behavior, noting that the
effects or repercussions of an action could influence an organism's learning. By 1931, he had
his PhD in psychology and was well on his way to developing operant conditioning, the
behaviorist paradigm that ruled for the second part of the 20th century.

Behaviorist Theory & Language Learning:

Core to all of behaviorism is the assumption that human and animal behaviors are
determined by learning and reinforcement. Whether by classical conditioning or operatant
conditioning, species acquire new skills, deepening on the effects these skills have on the
specie's environment. If an action proves to have a positive outcome (e.g., if by pressing a
button, a rat receives food), the organism is more likely to continue to repeat this behavior.
However, if the outcome is negative (e.g., if by pressing a button, a rat receives a shock), the
organism is less likely to repeat the behavior.

Skinner, and Stimulus-Response (S-R) adherents, believed that behaviorist theory

could be used to infer a learning history. They held that one could take an animal or person,
observe its/his/her behavior, and figure out what had been reinforced previously. Behaviorist
reduced all responses to associations, to a pattern of positive and negative reinforcement that
Prof. M. Tayyab Iqbal M.A. Eng. M.A. TEFL. M.A. Linguistics. Lahore, Pakistan

establishes links between stimuli and their environmental antecedents and consequences.
Responses that were reinforced would be repeated, and those that were punished would not.
Thus, if a dog brought its human a ball and the human pet it, the dog’s behavior would be
reinforced, and it would be more apt to getting the ball in the future. Likewise, if the dog
brought its human a ball and the human kicked it, the dog’s behavior would be punished, and
it would be less likely to do it.

These associations between stimuli, actions, and responses could explain virtually
every aspect of human and animal behavior and interaction, but one seemed particularly
problematic for the behaviorist theory: language. In 1957, Skinner published his book,
Verbal Behavior, in which he attempted to apply his form of operant conditioning to
language learning.

A basic assumption of his was that all language, including private, internal discourse,
was a behavior that developed in the same manner as other skills. He believed that a
sentence is merely part of “a behavior chain, each element of which provides a conditional
stimulus for the production of the succeeding element” (Fodor, Bever, & Garrett, p25). The
probability of a verbal response was contingent on four things: reinforcement, stimulus
control, deprivation, and aversive stimulation. The interaction of these things in a child’s
environment would lead to particular associations, the basis of all language.

Skinner proposed that language could be categorized by the way it was reinforced.
He claimed that there were four general types of speech: echoic behavior, mand, tact,
interverbals and autoclitic.

Echoic behavior is the primary form of verbal behavior of language learners. These
verbalizations include repeated utterances, as in (1)

(1) PARENT: [pointing to cookie] That’s a cookie. Can you say ‘cookie’?
CHILD: Cooookie Mands (short for deMANDS) are defined as utterances that are
reinforced by the elevation of deprivation. So for instance, if a child were hungry or cold,
her requests (as in (2))
(2) Cookie. Directives such as “Stop,” “Go,” and “Wait” also count as mands. However,
in (3), the child may be simply naming the object or stating what she likes.
(3) Cookie! Utterances that are produced when the speaker is not deprived are called tact
(short for conTACT). Tacts are verbalizations that the speaker produces to provide
information instead of attending to states of deprivation. While on the surface, tacts and
mands may seem similar, their underlying motivations (stimuli) and their reinforcements are
Prof. M. Tayyab Iqbal M.A. Eng. M.A. TEFL. M.A. Linguistics. Lahore, Pakistan

different. When a mand is reinforced, the need is sated. When a tact is reinforced, there is
no need to sate.
The fourth type of utterance is the interverbals. These include such things as “Please”
and “Thank you.” These utterances are not necessary to provide information. Rather, they
are used in discourse situation and pertain to the interactive nature of dialog. So for example,
in (4), the second utterance, the response to the question, is an interverbal. Likewise, the
associative response in number (5) is also an interverbal.
(4) SPEAKER A: Who’s your favorite graduate student?
With the final category, autoclitics, Skinner attempted to deal with internal speech, or
thought. Autoclitics, by his account, are subject to the same effects of reinforcement as
verbalized speech and that previously reinforced internal, or thought behaviors, will
influence not only current and future thought but also current and future verbal behavior.
The following principles illustrate the operating principles of behaviorism:
1. Behaviorist theory dwells on spoken language. That is, primary medium of language
is oral: speech is language because we learn to speak before we learnt to read and
write. Then, language is primarily what is spoken and secondarily what is written.
That’s why spoken language must have a priority in language teaching.
2. Behaviorist theory is the habit formation theory of language teaching and learning,
remaining us the learning of structural grammar. Language learning concerns us by
“not problem-solving but the information and performance of habits” (Nelson
Brooks, 1960; 46-47). In other words, language learning is a mechanical process
leading the learners to habit formation whose underlying scheme is the conditioned
reflex. Thus it is definitely true that language is controlled by the consequences of
3. The stimulus-response, chain, S R response, is a pure case of conditioning.
Behaviorist leaning theory “emphasizes conditioning and building from the simplest
conditioned responses to more and more complex behaviors” (Davic S. Palermo,
1978; 19-20). This comes to mean that clauses and sentences are linearly as longer
and longer stimulus-response chains, produced in a left-to right series of sequence
like S1  S2  S3S4 …… as probabilistic incidents, which are basically Markov’s
processes. Each stimulus is thus the caser of a response, and each response becomes
the initiator of a stimulus, and this process goes on and on in this way.
Prof. M. Tayyab Iqbal M.A. Eng. M.A. TEFL. M.A. Linguistics. Lahore, Pakistan

4. All learning is the establishment of habits as the result of reinforcement and reward.
Positive reinforcement is reward while negative reinforcement is punishment. In a
stimulus situation, a response is exerted, ad if the response is positively augmented by
a reward, then the association between the stimulus and response is itself reinforced
and thus the response will very likely be manipulated by every appearance of
5) The learning, due to its socially-conditioned nature, can be the same for each individual.
In other word s, each person can learn equally if the conditions in which the learning takes
place are the same for each person.


Introduction: The mentalist language acquisition theory, advanced by Noam
Chomsky in 1960s, supported through such concepts like Nativist Position (Nativism),
Innateness Position, and Rationalist Position, claims that for the basic structure of language
and how it is mastered and how human language develops, it is not the environment but
language structures, processes, and ideas that dwell in mind at birth serve for the acquisition
of languages. According to this theory" then, the speaker's inborn knowledge (Innateness
Position) of language, not the consequences of behavior, can be held responsible for the
acquisition of language. In this study, the attributes of the mentalist language acquisition
theory will be explored and the truthfulness of this type.
"The mentalist theory of language learning, developed in America by Noam Chomsky, first
and later by Eric H. Lenneberd (a neuropsychologist), chine up as a reaction against the
Behaviorist language learning theory, and contradicted its precedent at almost every point of
basic structure. The major principle of Mentalist language acquisition theory is that
"everybody learns a language, not because they are subjected to a similar conditioning
process, but because they possess an inborn capacity which permits them to acquire a
language as a normal Maturational Process" (D.A. Wilkins, 1972: 168). In 1965. in a book
titled Aspects of the Theory of Syntax, Chomsky claimed that there are innate properties of
language because a child masters his native language in a very short time in spite of the
highly abstract nature of rules. After this, in an article entitled "Linguistic Theory" Chomsky
called this innate knowledge as Language Acquisition Device (LAD hereafter). He also
insisted that every normal human being is born into a society with a LAD, which embodies
Prof. M. Tayyab Iqbal M.A. Eng. M.A. TEFL. M.A. Linguistics. Lahore, Pakistan

the nature and the structure of human language. LAD is what counts for language acquisition
where in environment has got no importance for the learning process at all.
LAD, in fact, was offered by Chomsky as an explanation why kids develop competence in
learning a first language in a relatively short time, just by being exposed to it, owing to the
fact that every normal human being is born with a LAD.
In 1967, Eric H. Lenne berg in a book titled Biological Foundations of Language stated that
"Language is a species-specific behavior' and that certain modes of perception, categorizing,
and other language-related mechanisms are biologically determined" (H. Doughlas Brown,
1980: 22) Through this book he provided a biological support and interpretation to
Chomsky's Mentalist and nativist claims. Thus, this very fact on biologically-oriented nature
on language acquisition is very reminiscent of biolinguistics, which is "the study of language
as a biologically determined activ.ity of the organism with emphasis on neurophysical,
embryological and genetic features" (Mario Pei 1966: 30).
The additional notion propounds by Mentalist language learning theory is that the learning
capacity of human being by definition is not only universal but also innate, and this innate
capacity is not something to be obtained soeial1y.ln other words, language learning is not
socially oriented. Then, language learning and its environment must be viewed as a
biologically acquired process rather than a result of social learning. In the end, the
Chomskian doctrine came up to support the fact that universals of language were a set of
rules programmed in the brains of only and only human infants. .
Mentalist theory and children's language acquisition:
The inborn mechanism for learning in kids mind works through a unique process. After birth,
a child is exposed to language utterances which start to manipulate the learning levels as the
child grows up in his family. At each learning level, the kid subconsciously forms up
hypotheses, and tests them in his linguistic formations and thus he induces rules from his
data. As he discovers that his hypotheses fall short for his utterances he rechecks them and
makes the necessary modifications and then induces new rules. As he grows up more and
more, his hypotheses become gradually complex, and by applying them to his performance
he, by and by, becomes a competent speaker of the language he is born into. By 18 months of
age he forms of two -word or there- word sentences that are known as telegraphic utterances
that signal his competence over the language. In this way, right from his birth up to his
childhood he builds up an internal adult grammar of his native language through these
hypotheses. Then, "the mentalist view of the language and use accepts the fact that speakers
make conscious choices when they speak. Their use of language reflects their thoughts,
Prof. M. Tayyab Iqbal M.A. Eng. M.A. TEFL. M.A. Linguistics. Lahore, Pakistan

which may be entirely original and unpredictable"(Hubbard Jones and Thomton Wheeler,
1983: 329).
Main features Of The Mentalist Theory Revisited:
Chomsky, who is the originator of the Mentalist theory, made a serious attack on the thesis
and concepts established by B.F. Skinner's behaviorist practice. Chomsky's principal
criticism of Behaviorist language learning is based on the argument that a language learning
theory in the way behaviorist psychology processes cannot account for the development of
language and its learning, owing to the following reasons:
1. Language learning is of inborn nature for the most part, and therefore "language is not a
habit structure" (N. Chomsky, 1966: 412). In addition, language learning and language
development are a biological process, having nothing to do with the results of social learning.
For this reason human knowledge is embodied as LAD at birth and develops via structures,
processes; and ideas, which are all mental developments. In a word, language acquisition is
innately determined. This innate property "whose, nature and mode of operation are
inviolable" (D.A. Wilkins 1972: 171), otherwise known as LAD, has got the following
a) The power to differentiate speech sounds from each other,
b) The capacity to organize linguistic events into various classes that can easily be redefined
c) Knowledge specifying the possible linguistic system and rejecting the impossible and
inadmissible ones.
2. The Linguistics behavior is not composed of responses to stimuli, that is, of S  R
relationship and it is not a matter of habit -formation and generalization. S  R theory is so
limited, the problem of language acquisition simply falls beyond its domain" (D. McNeil,
1966: 412). The stimuli-response is therefore nonsense, for a kid uses hid cognitive capacity
to discover the structure of the language spoken around himself. Moreover, Behaviourist
theory mostly analyzed animal behavior in labs, but human behavior is much more complex
than animal behavior. Language behavior is so unique to humans that it can never be
explained by means of animal behavior. Not the external environment ad its resulting
responses but innate environment is important.
3. According lO Chomsky, LAD is peculiar only to human beings who use language, where
as other animals do not. Since all human beings learn their language successfully they have
to possess same internal capacity for language learning that other animals do not own; then,
this capacity cannot have been acquired socially, therefore, it must be innate. Thus, social
Prof. M. Tayyab Iqbal M.A. Eng. M.A. TEFL. M.A. Linguistics. Lahore, Pakistan

factors have virtually no function at all in learning languages. It is the inborn capacity which
is responsible for the language acquisition process.
4. Analogizing and generalizations made by children are, in fact, production and application
of rules, because "ordinary linguistic behavior characteristically involves innovation.
Formation of new sentences and new patterns in accordance with rules of great abstractness
and intricacy... therefore there are no known principles of association or reinforcement, and
no known sense of generalization that can begin to account for this characteristic "creative"
aspect of normal behavior" (N. Chomsky, 1966: 48). To put it in other words, such
bchavioristical1y oriented, customary notions like imitation-practice-Learn-by doing-habit-
formation, as I clarified by Transformational-generative Grammar, do not work positively. to
expose the linguistic creativity in language learning.
5. Children quite often parrot the words and structures of their parents, but in many cases
children's language indicate systematic departures from the language used by their adults:
then, such systematic deviations refute to deductions of a theory which relegates the learning
of a language to imitative behavior. The fact here is that the kids do not always imitate what
they hear. For example, in terms of over generalization, irregular past tense verbs are
infrequent in parents" speech, and kids do not often imitate such verbs but produce
systematic forms like:
comed, 'goed, 'doed, 'speaked, and 'becomed.
And this very fact indicates that the kids in a majority of cases go on their own ways in
speaking. Parental frequency, approval or disapproval are very limited in terms of
grammaticality because parents mostly insist on truth values of the utterances.
Prof. M. Tayyab Iqbal M.A. Eng. M.A. TEFL. M.A. Linguistics. Lahore, Pakistan

Q.No.3. What are those factors that affect foreign language

learning? Discuss by giving examples.

Language Learning:
Language learning has always become an important work-field both in schools and
other private sectors dealing with language teaching and learning process. Second language
learning is a process which is affected by many factors. It is accompanied by different kinds
of factors including the learner’s environment both in and out of school. In this article the age
and motivation factors in the second language learning process will be analyzed, discussed
and some perspectives will be put forward.
According to Collier (1988), the factors that affect second language acquisition and
advancement in language learning depend on the learner’s cognitive style, socio-economic
background, formal schooling in first language and so on. Yiğiter (1988), expresses that, in
general, there are three factors affecting second language learning. They are the teacher,
learner and method respectively. These three factors have great impact on language learning.
Learner is affected by many factors in the second language acquisition process. The level of
cognitive development, socio-economic and cultural background, and the ability to acquire a
language, age and motivation of the learner’s can be expressed as the factors affecting second
language acquisition. The competency of a learner’s in his or her first language has a direct
relationship with his or her age. Schooling and cognitive development are the other factors
affecting the second language acquisition. In researches and studies made on second
language acquisition, the learners who completed their first language acquisition have been
found more successful in second language acquisition. Motivation is another factor affecting
second language acquisition. Achieving motivation lets the learner a desire to learn a
language. Studies on motivation show that motivated learners are more successful in second
language acquisition.
Following are the factors that affect foreign language learning:
1. Age
2. Gender
3. Intelligence
4. Apptitude
5. Personality
6. Anxiety
Prof. M. Tayyab Iqbal M.A. Eng. M.A. TEFL. M.A. Linguistics. Lahore, Pakistan

7. Motivation and attitudes

8. Learning style
The Effect of Age on Second Language Acquisition :
A learner’s age is one of the important factors affecting the process of second language
acquisition. Collier (1988), expresses that successful language acquisition depends on the learner’s
age. In one of the earliest studies on second language acquisition Lenneberg (1967), claims that there
is a certain period in acquisition of a second language. In this period, which is identified critical
period hypothesis in language acquisition, Lenneberg theorizes that the acquisition of language is an
innate process determined by biological factors which limit the critical period for acquisition of a
language from roughly two years of age to puberty. Lenneberg believes that after lateralization,
which is a process by which the two sides of the brain develop specialized functions, the brain loses
plasticity and lateralization of the language function is normally completed by puberty, making post-
adolescent language acquisition difficult.
After Lenneberg, in some other studies examining subjects’ pronunciation after over five
years of exposure to the second language, it was found that the large majority of adults retain their
accent when the second language is acquired after puberty, whereas children initiating second
language acquisition before puberty have little or no foreign accent. In two different studies on
assessing students’ acquisition of pronunciation after three years of exposure to the second language,
Fathman (1975) and Williams (1979), found that younger students had retained more accent-free
pronunciation when compared to adolescents just past puberty.
The Effect of Gender on Second Language Acquisition :
The purpose of this research is to examine gender differences and the effect on
second-language learning and teaching. Male and female speak second language in a
different way. The accent and pronunciation of feminine gender is much more closer to the
standard English. But on the other hand style and accent of male is a little bit different from
the standard English. Therefore, gender difference is also a factor in learning language.

The Effect of intelligence on Second Language Acquisition :

The traditionally measured IQ scores can tell a lot about the fact if we are good
learners or not. But this variable does not refer to all abilities that are important for language
learning. It may, in fact, be “strongly related to meta-linguistic knowledge”
(Lightbown/Spada 57). However, it does not say anything about our ability of
communication and interaction. That is why Howard Gardner suggested that individuals have
multiple intelligences including abilities for example in music, athletics, or interpersonal
The Effect of aptitude on Second Language Acquisition :
The Aptitude describes the ability to learn a language. Thus, a learner with high
aptitude may learn faster and more successful. There are official aptitude tests, for example
Prof. M. Tayyab Iqbal M.A. Eng. M.A. TEFL. M.A. Linguistics. Lahore, Pakistan

the Modern Language Aptitude Test (MLAT) or the Pimsleur Language Aptitude Battery
(PLAB). In these tests, the subject has to do exercises to find out, for instance, the ability to
memorize words. In general, they test the auditory ability, grammatical sensitivity, inductive
language learning ability, and memory. For example, the MLAT tests recognition, analogy,
and understanding of syntactic structures. In the following example, the first sentence is the
key sentence. One word in the key sentence will be printed in capital letters. You have to
determine the word in the second sentence that plays the same role in that sentence:
JOHN took a long walk in the woods.
Children in blue jeans were singing and dancing in the park.
The Effect of personality on Second Language Acquisition :
Several personality characteristics have been selected that may affect second
language learning, but it is impossible to demonstrate that in long-term research studies. You
may think that when learning a second language it is more effective to be an extroverted
person. But there are researches that document just the contrary. Lily Wong Fillmore (1979)
observed that “in certain learning situations, the quiet observant learner may have greater
success” (Lightbown/Spada 61). Another characteristic that has been researched on is
inhibition. Alexander Guiora made a study where he found out that small amounts of alcohol
leads to more success in pronunciation tests. But on the other hand, larger amounts certainly
distort the pronunciation!

The Effect of anxiety on Second Language Acquisition :

Anxiety is a characteristic that could hinder your success in second language learning
to a certain degree. This refers to above average anxiety, because a certain amount of tension
can have positive effects on your learning. Guy Spielmann and Mary Radnofsky (2001) use
the term ‘tension’ instead of anxiety, because anxiety is often considered as negative.
Anxiety has also been related to your “willingness to communicate” which promotes your
learning process.
Motivation and attitudes: There are two types of motivation: (1) instrumental
motivation which is for a practical purpose, for example you need to learn English in order to
do a job effectively or to study at an English-speaking institution, and (2) integrative
motivation which is for personal goals or cultural interest. In the classroom, teachers can
contribute to their students’ motivation creating a comfortable atmosphere and making the
learning content interesting.
Zoltán Dörnyei (2001a) designed a motivation model consisting of the three cycle
phases a second language learner goes through:
1. In the ‘choice motivation’ the learner gets started and sets goals
Prof. M. Tayyab Iqbal M.A. Eng. M.A. TEFL. M.A. Linguistics. Lahore, Pakistan

2. In the second phase, the ‘executive motivation’, the learner has to work in order
maintain the motivation and the third phase,
3. The ‘motivation retrospection’, self-appraisal and self-confidence develops.

Q.No.4. Write short notes on the following topics:

a. Grammar Translation Method
b. Communicative approach in language teaching

Grammar Translation Method:

Prof. M. Tayyab Iqbal M.A. Eng. M.A. TEFL. M.A. Linguistics. Lahore, Pakistan

In applied linguistics, the grammar translation method is a foreign language teaching

method derived from the classical (sometimes called traditional) method of teaching Greek
and Latin. The method requires students to translate whole texts word for word and
memorize numerous grammatical rules and exceptions as well as enormous vocabulary lists.
The goal of this method is to be able to read and translate literary masterpieces and classics.
The Grammar Translation Method is the oldest method of teaching in India.
It is as old as the international of English in the country. A number of methods and
techniques have been evolved for the teaching of English and also other foreign
languages in the recent past, yet this method is still in use in many part of India. It
maintains the mother tongue of the learner as the reference particularly in the
process of learning the second/foreign languages. The main principles on which the
Grammar Translation Method is based are the following:
(i) Translation interprets the words and phrases of the foreign languages in the best
possible manner.
(ii) The phraseology and the idiom of the target language can best be assimilated in
the process of interpretation.
(iii) The structures of the foreign languages are best learnt when compared and
contrast with those of mother tongue.
In this method, while teaching the text book the teacher translates every word,
phrase from English into the mother tongue of learners. Further, students are
required to translate sentences from their mother tongue into English. These
exercises in translation are based on various items covering the grammar of the
target language. The method emphasizes the study of grammar through deduction
that is through the study of the rules of grammar. A contrastive study of the target
language with the mother tongue gives an insight into the structure not only of the
foreign language but also of the mother tongue.

1. The phraseology of the target language is quickly explained. Translation is the
easiest way of explaining meanings or words and phrases from one language into
another. Any other method of explaining vocabulary items in the second language is
found time consuming. A lot of time is wasted if the meanings of lexical items are
explained through definitions and illustrations in the second language. Further,
learners acquire some short of accuracy in understanding synonyms in the source
Prof. M. Tayyab Iqbal M.A. Eng. M.A. TEFL. M.A. Linguistics. Lahore, Pakistan

language and the target language.

2. Teacher’s labour is saved. Since the textbooks are taught through the medium of
the mother tongue, the teacher may ask comprehension questions on the text taught
in the mother tongue. Pupils will not have much difficulty in responding to questions
on the mother tongue. So, the teacher can easily assess whether the students have
learnt what he has taught them. Communication between the teacher and the
learnersdoes not cause linguistic problems. Even teachers who are not fluent in
English can teach English through this method. That is perhaps the reason why this
method has been practiced so widely and has survived so long.
1. It is an unnatural method. The natural order of learning a language is listening,
speaking, reading and writing. That is the way how the child learns his mother
tongue in natural surroundings. But in the Grammar Translation Method the
teaching of the second language starts with the teaching of reading. Thus, the
learning process is reversed. This poses problems.
2. Speech is neglected. The Grammar Translation Method lays emphasis on reading
and writing. It neglects speech. Thus, the students who are taught English through
this method fail to express themselves adequately in spoken English. Even at the
undergraduate stage they feel shy of communicating through English. It has been
observed that in a class, which is taught English through this method, learners listen
to the mother tongue more than that to the second/foreign language. Since language
learning involves habit formation such students fail to acquire habit of speaking
English. Thus, they have to pay a heavy price for being taught through this method.
3. Exact translation is not possible. Translation is, indeed, a difficult task and exact
translation from one language to another is not always possible. A language is the
result of various customs, traditions, and modes of behaviour of a speech community
and these traditions differ from community to community. There are several lexical
items in one language, which have no synonyms/equivalents in another language.
For instance, the meaning of the English word ‘table’ does not fit in such expression
as the ‘table of contents’, ‘table of figures’, ‘multiplication table’, ‘time table’ and
‘table the resolution’, etc. English prepositions are also difficult to translate.
Consider sentences such as ‘We see with our eyes’, ‘Bombay is far from Delhi’, ‘He
died of cholera’, He succeeded through hard work’. In these sentences ‘with’, ‘from’,
‘of’, ‘through’ can be translated into the Hindi preposition ‘se’ and vice versa. Each
Prof. M. Tayyab Iqbal M.A. Eng. M.A. TEFL. M.A. Linguistics. Lahore, Pakistan

language has its own structure, idiom and usage, which do not have their exact
counterparts in another language. Thus, translation should be considered an index of
one’s proficiency in a language.
4. It does not give pattern practice. A person can learn a language only when he
internalizes its patterns to the extent that they form his habit. But the Grammar
Translation Method does not provide any such practice to the learner of a language.
It rather attempts to teach language through rules and not by use. Researchers in
linguistics have proved that to speak any language, whether native or foreign entirely
by rule is quite impossible. Language learning means acquiring certain skills, which
can be learnt through practice and not by just memorizing rules. The persons who
have learnt a foreign or second language through this method find it difficult to give
up the habit of first thinking in their mother tongue and than translating their ideas
into the second language. They, therefore, fail to get proficiency in the second
language approximating that in the first language. The method, therefore, suffers
from certain weaknesses for which there is no remedy

2. Communicative approach in Language teaching:

The communicative style of language teaching began in the 1970s and developed in
response to a growing dissatisfaction with prevailing methodologies, and in recognition of
theoretical advances. It is not the direct result of any one way of looking at language and
language learning, but is effectively the outcome of contributions given by the various
different approaches. It started with Chomsky’s Cognitive Approach, paying particular
attention to his distinction between performance and linguistic competence, and was
developed by the socio-linguist, Hymes, and then subsequently by countless others.
A dichotomy was drawn between the structural/behavioral emphasis on manipulating
grammatical forms and achieving accuracy, and the new emphasis on communicative
competence and the use of language to fulfill its communicative function, concentrating
on fluency. Both accuracy and fluency are necessary parts of linguistic competence.
Prof. M. Tayyab Iqbal M.A. Eng. M.A. TEFL. M.A. Linguistics. Lahore, Pakistan

Language was not just thought of in terms of usage, i.e. the manipulation of grammar,
but also in terms of use, i.e. the appropriate use of language in a variety of situations and
circumstances. In the 70s, grammar was even completely abandoned by some who assumed
students would naturally pick it up via communicative learning, but due to a sharp decline in
learner accuracy and the realization that grammatical accuracy is a necessary part of
linguistic competence and communication, the communicative teaching of grammar was
integrated into the overall approach. Grammar was “necessary, but not sufficient”
(McDonough and Shaw 1993:25) and the language learner has a whole bunch of other things
to keep in mind too, such as:
1. The social and cultural rules which apply to the context or situation.
2. The relationship between the interactants.
3. The purpose of the communication.
4. The topic.
5. How to use the channel of communication (spoken or written) for a specific purpose.
Given the decades of research and experience that has gone into developing it then, the
Communicative Approach has a lot to take into account and therefore has a very broad and
rich scope of characteristics, the basics of which I have tried my best to lay out here:
1. Both spoken and written language are important. Reading, writing, speaking and listening
are all necessary parts of communicative competence, whether it’s reading a menu, ordering
the food, or filling in an application form to work at the restaurant.
2. Language is viewed and learned within its social and cultural context, which learners need
to develop knowledge of in order to develop appropriate language use, egg talking to friends,
facilitating a meeting, or writing a letter. There is an emphasis on the authentic use of
language, as it would be used in its real context.
3. Focus is on meaning, rather than language structure, which is seen as a means of aiding the
understanding and production of meaning.
4. Both fluency and accuracy are important. Grammar is necessary for communication to
occur, but not sufficient by itself. (Socio-linguists have developed a new way of looking at
grammar that shows how we change and adapt it according to social function and
circumstances, thus improving our knowledge of how language is used appropriately).
Students need grammatical explanations, drills and exercises, when and only when they are
5. Course content is based on student needs. What do they need to learn/use English for?
Interacting with friends? Functioning day to day abroad? Work? Passing their exams?
Prof. M. Tayyab Iqbal M.A. Eng. M.A. TEFL. M.A. Linguistics. Lahore, Pakistan

6. Teaching is more learner-centered. Students are far more involved, rather than listening to
the teacher for 50 minutes. Students should be encouraged to contribute as much as possible.
7. The teacher becomes more a planner and facilitator of language learning activities, helping
the students throughout, rather than a didactic teacher.
8. Mistakes are only corrected when appropriate, for example, after an activity has occurred,
not during. To correct a student while they are communicating would hinder the main goal of
successful and effective communication. Students will find it useful though to hear what they
were doing wrong, once they are done, especially if it is an error common to the whole class.
9. Activities are based on real-life communication because that is what we learn languages
for, e.g. “This is my friend, Keiko. She’s from Japan”, rather than “This is a pen. That is a
10. Activities are task-based in which language is used for a purpose, often based on an
information-gap and/or the sharing of information to achieve such a communicative purpose,
e.g. selling fruit, making an appointment, a class survey or debating the pros and cons of
school uniform.
11. Course content is more relevant to students’ lives so they can actually use it and are more
likely to want to.
12. Use of pair-work and group-work activities is common as well as individual and also
teacher-led activities. Varied types of interaction are encouraged and nurtured. Learners hear
more types of language from different sources, interact with more people, use language in
context, hear it repeated, rephrased and clarified, ask and answer questions, build confidence
and don’t have to speak in front of the entire class.
Communicative Activities:
The above characteristics make up a communicative methodology, which determines the
specific, individual methods and activities we refer to as communicative. You can see then,
from this and from earlier sections on other approaches, that the larger ideas about languages
and how they are learned have a top-down effect on the general methodology we follow and
ultimately the individual activities that we pencil into our lesson plans. So, what follows is a
brief look at four activities that, after introducing and practicing useful expressions and
vocabulary, might be employed in a communicative classroom. Each activity has its
strengths and weaknesses.
1. Class Survey (JHS and SHS; Simplified versions also possible at Elementary): The entire
class carries out a survey of things that the students are interested in, e.g. favorite actors,
hours spent watching TV, anything. Students can be divided into groups and each group
decides what they will survey, so that each group does something different. Students design
Prof. M. Tayyab Iqbal M.A. Eng. M.A. TEFL. M.A. Linguistics. Lahore, Pakistan

their survey/questionnaire and then are given time to approach other students and interview
them, collecting data. Students return to their groups and collate their data to prepare for
presenting their results to the class. This activity is task-based in that students use English to
get something done.
They interact and communicate for a real purpose, whilst probably also practicing wh-
questions and some set expressions during the survey, and perhaps simple present tense and
comparatives and superlatives during the presentation. Thus, they practice and learn grammar
and vocabulary as a by-product of the main communicative purpose. Activities working on
similar principles include “Find Someone Who …” and “Shopping” in which students go
round different ‘shops’ in the classroom trying to buy many items using a dialog (with the
extra bonus of mimicking a real-life situation).
2. Finding a Good Time… (JHS and SHS): Students work in pairs. They receive a handout of
a blank, weekly schedule and are asked to fill it out randomly (or based on their real
schedule), making sure to leave about half of it empty. They then work with a partner or
several partners to find a time that they are both free to do something together. Once they
have found a good time, they decide what it is they want to do, where and when, and then fill
in the information in their schedule. This activity is also task-based involving a real
communicative purpose. It is slightly advanced in that involves a lot of discourse, i.e.
students must rally info back and forth, asking and replying until they reach an agreement.
Students definitely need to practice the expressions and strategies for doing this beforehand
and feel reasonably confident with it. It’s a very good activity, though. “Find the difference”
activities, in which students try to find the differences between two pictures using English
only, are based on similar principles.
3. Role-plays (JHS and SHS; Simplified versions possible at Elementary, e.g. greetings):
Students work in pairs or small groups to write a short role-play using the target expressions
in an appropriate situation and perform it, either in front of the whole class, or just to another
pair/group/JTE/ALT, if it’s a shy class. This activity is not really task-based, but students do
have to think about communicating in a real situation and what kind of language is needed to
achieve that. They really have to think about using language in a real context and also benefit
from seeing how other students have done that in their role-plays. It is however, a time-
consuming activity, as each part of it takes some time, though if students are asked to do it
regularly, the speed and ability with which they can do it will get better over time and they
will benefit in the long term from using English in a very naturalistic way.
4. Pin the Tail on the Donkey (Elementary School): This is exactly the same as the popular
party game you used to play as a kid. Students make groups. One student is blindfolded and
Prof. M. Tayyab Iqbal M.A. Eng. M.A. TEFL. M.A. Linguistics. Lahore, Pakistan

must listen to the other kids’ instructions to pin the tail on the donkey in the right place. This
is a Total Physical Response (TPR) activity in which students respond physically to the
language they hear (like Simon Says). If the response is adequate, then effective
communication has taken place. This kind of activity is very useful in Elementary school.
Kids like it.
The four styles are listed below:
1. Concrete Learners – “Direct means of processing information; people-orientated;
spontaneous; imaginative; emotional; dislikes routinized learning; prefers kinaesthetic
modality” (ibid: 507). These learners tend to like games, pictures, films, video, using
cassettes, talking in pairs and practicing English outside class.
2. Analytical Learners – “Focuses on specific problems and proceeds by means of
hypothetical-deductive reasoning; object-orientated; independent; dislikes failure; prefers
logical didactic presentation” (ibid). These learners like studying grammar, studying English
books and reading newspapers, studying alone, finding their own mistakes and working on
problems set by the teacher.
3. Communicative Learners – “Fairly independent; highly adaptable and flexible;
responsive to facts that do not fit; prefers social learning and a communicative approach;
enjoys taking decisions” (ibid). These students like to learn by watching, listening to native
speakers, talking to friends in English and watching TV in English, using English out of class
in shops, trains etc, learning new words by hearing them, and learning through conversations.

4. Authority-Orientated Learners – “Reliant on other people; needs teacher’s directions

and explanations; likes a structured learning environment; intolerant of facts that do not fit;
prefers a sequential progression; dislikes discovery learning” (ibid). These learners prefer the
teacher to explain everything, like to have their own textbook, to write everything in a
notebook, to study grammar, learn by reading, and learn new words by seeing them.

As you can see, the four types of learners set out above are all quite different, and
probably respond best to differing teaching approaches. You have probably identified the
kinds of learners that would respond better to each of the theoretical language learning
approaches set out earlier in this article. You have probably also noticed that there are
learners who may not particularly benefit from doing lots of communicative activities, and
yes, some students benefit from and actually prefer grammar translation and drills, and most
kinds of learners need them for support and accuracy before trying the communicative stuff
Prof. M. Tayyab Iqbal M.A. Eng. M.A. TEFL. M.A. Linguistics. Lahore, Pakistan

anyway. Everyone is different, everyone has a preferred way of learning and they all sit in
the same classroom, which makes things a little difficult for us.
Fortunately, there is one way to get around this though and that is eclecticism. Just
because a learner (and a teacher) likes doing things one way, this does not mean that they
cannot learn to do it in two, three or four ways, alongside their classmates who happen to
prefer something different. In fact learning to learn is something that all students can benefit
from. If you can broaden their scope and their learning skills in this way, you are helping
them way beyond their team teaching classes. If there is one goal of this article, it is to
supplement your experience with theory to help you become the ‘informed eclectic’ whereby
you know what it is that you want to achieve, you know what your students want to achieve
and you know some of the theoretical problems that stand in your way, but by broadening
your approach and giving all kinds of activities a place where you can, you are able to appeal
to all your students and make your lessons useful to everyone in some way. This basically
means selecting from a range of different activities to fit in to a broad lesson plan, and you
will probably see a logical order in which activities can be arranged (see also the article on
Lesson Planning), moving from more controlled, grammar-based or teacher centered
activities towards freer, more communicative and student-centered ones in context, so that
students become more independent with the new target language and try to use it for a
communicative purpose, which should always remain the ultimate goal of any lesson, and
language learning in general.
Prof. M. Tayyab Iqbal M.A. Eng. M.A. TEFL. M.A. Linguistics. Lahore, Pakistan

Q.No.5. What role teacher plays in successful learning of a language? Is

there any difference between first language acquisition and second
language learning? Discuss by giving examples.

Role of teacher:

The primary role of the teacher in a multidimensional language class is to establish

conditions and develop activities so that students are able to practise the language in a
meaningful context. It is one of the teacher's greatest responsibilities to develop in the
students a positive attitude to learning French as a second language.

It is the teacher who acts as facilitator, resource person and language model for the
second- language classroom. If developing units, the teacher needs to predict the possible
needs of the students and have communicative language activities readily available to meet
these needs. The activities should be designed so that the students experience a high degree
of success. Teachers will also experience greater success when activities are planned around
the students' interests and take into account subjects that they have some knowledge about.

The constant re-entry and review of linguistic content throughout the different units
enable the students to practise and internalize the language. Although this spiral approach is
ideal in language learning, the teacher must be aware of the program objectives and ensure
that the objectives are being met. Instruction and evaluation must reflect these objectives.

Student centered:
The classroom becomes student-centered rather than teacher-centered; the students do
most of the talking and the role of the teacher is to facilitate, advise, assist and offer
direction. As the students most often work in small groups the teacher will observe the
activities, noting problem areas for future work. During these activities, the teacher will
interrupt to correct students only if the errors are so serious as to block communication. The
role of the Core French teacher in the classroom has traditionally been to convey knowledge.
As the teacher moves toward being a facilitator of language learning, the students acquire
skills that will enable them to be independent language learners.
Various theories are put forward to describe first language (L1) acquisition and
second language (L2) acquisition. In order to understand the nature of L1 and L2 language
acquisition, various aspects were examined, compared, and contrasted. Results from these
comparisons and contrasts have valuable implications for language teachers which can help
Prof. M. Tayyab Iqbal M.A. Eng. M.A. TEFL. M.A. Linguistics. Lahore, Pakistan

them to design their syllabuses, teaching processes and classroom activities. These results
also enable the language teacher to understand his/her students’ learning processes.
Many characteristics of L2 acquisition were highlighted by studies conducted on the
issue of Inter-language. Inter-language theory was developed in the 1970s and 1980s to
emphasize the dynamic qualities of language change that make the Inter-language a unique
system. Selinker (1969, cited in McLaughlin, 1987) defines Inter-language as the interim
grammars constructed by second language learners on their way to the target language. Inter-
language is the learner's developing second language knowledge and has some characteristics
of the learner's native language, of the second language, and some characteristics which seem
to be very general and tend to occur in all or most Inter-languages. It is systematic, dynamic
and constantly evolving.
Inter-languages have some common characteristics with L1 acquisition, because both
share similar developmental sequences. Some of the characteristics of L2 acquisition show
similarities with L1 acquisition, whereas others show differences.
2. Similarities between First and Second Language Acquisition:
Researchers have carried out numerous studies to understand the nature of first and
second language acquisition. These studies have revealed that both first and second language
learners follow a pattern of development, which is mainly followed despite exceptions. Rod
Ellis (1984) covers the idea of developmental sequences in detail and outlines three
developmental stages: the silent period, formulaic speech, and structural and semantic
Research in natural settings where unplanned language, such as the learner language
that results from attempts by learners to express meaning more or less spontaneously, is used
to show that both first and second language learners pass through a similar initial stage.

Stages of learning 1L and 2L:

The silent period,the first stage, Children acquiring their first language go through a
period of listening to the language they are exposed to. During this period the child tries to
discover what language is. In the case of second language acquisition, learners opt for a silent
period when immediate production is not required from them. In general, however, many
second language learners - especially classroom learners- are urged to speak. The fact that
there is a silent period in both first and second language learners (when given the
Prof. M. Tayyab Iqbal M.A. Eng. M.A. TEFL. M.A. Linguistics. Lahore, Pakistan

opportunity) is widely accepted. However, there is disagreement on what contribution the

silent period has in second language acquisition.

The second developmental stage is termed formulaic speech. Formulaic speech is

defined as expressions which are learnt as unanalysable wholes and employed on particular
occasions (Lyons, 1968, cited in Ellis, 1994). Krashen (1982) suggests that these expressions
can have the form of routines (whole utterances learned as memorized chunks - e.g. I don't
know.), patterns (partially unanalyzed utterances with one or more slots - e.g. Can I have a
____?), and Ellis (1994) suggests that these expressions can consist of entire scripts such as
greetings. The literature points out that formulaic speech is not only present in both first and
second language acquisition but also present in the speech of adult native speakers.

In the third stage the first and second language learners apply structural and
semantic simplifications to heir language. Structural simplifications take the form of omitting
grammatical functors (e.g. articles, auxiliary verbs) and semantic simplifications take the
form of omitting content words (e. g. nouns, verbs). There are two suggested reasons why
such simplifications occur. The first reason is that learners may not have yet acquired the
necessary linguistic forms. The second reason is that they are unable to access linguistic
forms during production.

These three stages show us that L1 and L2 learners go through similar stages of
development with the exception that L2 learners are urged to skip the silent period. However,
learners do not only show a pattern in developmental sequences, but also in the order in
which they acquire certain grammatical morphemes.

Acquisition Order:
Researchers have tried to find out if there is an order of acquisition in acquiring
grammatical morphemes. The findings are important but contradictory and have implications
on first and second language acquisition. Morpheme studies aimed to investigate the
acquisition of grammatical functions such as articles or inflectional features such as the
plural -s. An important research in this field is that of Roger Brown (1973, cited in
McLaughlin, 1987). According to Brown, there is a common - invariant - sequence of
acquisition for at least 14 function words in English as a first language - noun and verb
inflections, prepositions, and articles. Findings of these studies pointed out that there is a
definite order in the acquisition of morphemes in English first language learners. Other
Prof. M. Tayyab Iqbal M.A. Eng. M.A. TEFL. M.A. Linguistics. Lahore, Pakistan

morpheme studies were carried out on various functors suggesting that an order of
acquisition does exist.
Lightbown and Spada (2006) review studies which have proposed that the acquisition of
question words (what, where, who, why, when, and how), show a great similarity in first and
second language acquisition. Based on the morpheme studies in L2 acquisition, Krashen
(1982) put forward the Natural Order Hypothesis which he developed to account for second
language acquisition. He claimed that we acquire the rules of language in a predictable order.
This acquisition order is not determined by simplicity or the order of rules taught in the class.
Thus far it seems as if L1 acquisition and L2 acquisition follow similar routes, however,
other morpheme studies have shown that not all first language learners follow the order of
acquisition predicted. There appears to be inter-learner variation in the order of acquisition.
Wells (1986b, in Ellis, 1994) proposes inter-learner variables affecting the order of
acquisition as sex, intelligence, social background, rate of learning, and experience of
linguistic interaction. Furthermore, McLaughlin (1987) claims that evidence from research
shows that the learner's first language has an effect on acquisitional sequences which either
slows their development or modifies it. He adds that, considerable individual variation in
how learners acquire a second language, such as different learning, performance, and
communication strategies, obscure the acquisitional sequences for certain constructions.
Therefore, McLaughlin (1987) argues that "Krashen's claim that an invariant natural order is
always found is simply not true” (p. 33).
In sum, making direct comparisons between first and second language acquisition can
be a difficult and complex task. Indeed, it is important to observe the incredible cognitive,
physical and affective differences between child L1 learners and adult L2 learners (Brown
1994). Moreover, children are not conscious of the fact that they are even acquiring
sophisticated rules of language. Children master their first language and develop their
knowledge of syntax subconsciously (O’Neill 1998, L2 Learning. para.2).

As mentioned in this discussion, children acquire their first language prior to the
onset of puberty. It is during this time period that children are learning about the world they
live in and other very important life skills. Adult L2 learning, on the other hand, is not
triggered in any way.
It is also interesting to note that children, in contrast to adult second language
learners, never experience the urge to consciously or subconsciously reject their first
language (O’Neill 1998, L2 Learning. para.4). It appears that children do not question the
Prof. M. Tayyab Iqbal M.A. Eng. M.A. TEFL. M.A. Linguistics. Lahore, Pakistan

learning process and are not overly analytical with the new language like adult L2 learners
appear to be (O’Neill 1998, L1 Acquisition. para.4).

Also, children with brain injuries as well as mentally disordered children will acquire
all the formal rules and structures of their language. This was evident in Lenneberg’s
research, which revealed that the damage to the left hemisphere in pre-pubescent children did
not prevent the children from eventually recovering all of their language abilities.

Lastly, it has been found that adult second language learners do not acquire the rules
of syntax unconsciously in the way that children do. In short, L2 syntax is not acquired with
the same ease as L1 syntax (O’Neill 1998, L2 Learning. para.2). The information generated
from the case studies of Wes, the Japanese artist in Hawaii and the tragic story of Genie and
the Asian immigrants who moved to America support the assertion that the rules of syntax
are not as easily acquired by adult learners as opposed to child L1 learners.