Indiana University

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Events for the week :
November 11, 2012 - November 17, 2012
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  • Sociocognitive second language acquisition

    Time: 01:00pm - 02:00pm 

    Place: Sassafrass Room, Indiana Memorial Union


    Dwight Atkinson (Purdue University)

    Second language acquisition is such an enormously complex phenomenon that no single theory of it provides a comprehensive account. The sociocognitive approach presented here focuses on aspects of SLA not covered in other theories – in particular the rich support provided by interaction and alignment between learners and their ecosocial worlds.

    I begin by considering three views of interaction: interaction by chatbots – robots designed to emulate human interaction; interaction as conceptualized in mainstream SLA studies; and interaction as conceptualized in a sociocognitive approach to SLA. The first two views are characterized not as wrong but as impoverished – they do not consider interaction as a rich, environmentally embedded process which provides a fundamental basis for learning/alignment/SLA.

    Next, I consider five questions, contrasting mainstream answers to these questions with the perspective offered by sociocognitive SLA: 1) What is cognition for? 2) What is learning for? 3) What is language for, and why do we learn it? 4) Why do we learn second languages? and 5) How do we learn second languages? I then describe a range of sociocognitive "tools" by which second languages are learned according to this theory.

    Finally, I show and analyze a short video of interaction between a learner and tutor in an English as a Foreign Language context – an interaction focused on teaching/learning the present perfect "experience" construction, "Have you ever..." Through analyzing this video I intend to concretely illustrate the sociocognitive approach introduced in this presentation.


    In category: Second language acquisition


November 16
  • Universal Grammar, the Poverty of the Stimulus, and the Nature of L2 Acquisition

    Time: 02:30pm - 04:00pm 

    Place: Ballantine Hall 205


    Rex Sprouse


    One of the central concepts in approaches to second language research grounded in generative grammar is the poverty of the stimulus (POS). The purpose of this talk is three-fold: (1) to provide an overview of the principal aspects of the POS in the acquisition of natural language grammars in motivating the construct Universal Grammar (UG); (2) to address briefly some of the misunderstandings surrounding the POS and UG; and (3) to clarify how argumentation from the POS in first language research vs. second language research logically differs.



    In category: Second language acquisition


November 17

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