Some Vietnamese Viewpoints upon Second Language Acquistion Theories in Language Contact Environment

Abstract: This study focuses on the interference between the theories of second language acquisition by the native speakers

(such as: Behaviorist's theory, Nativist's theory, Interactionist's theory, Information Processing theory, Vygotsky's theory,

Halliday's theory, Sociolinguistic's theory) and the viewpoints of the non-native speakers (e.g. Vietnamese) who study a native

language (e.g. English) as a second language or foreign language. Moreover, based on the summary table of the second

language acquisition theories, the viewpoints of non-native speakers are analyzed to find out which theories adapt the

viewpoints of the learners, being really the ones who acquire second languages. Last but not least, the effects of learning

process and of learners on second language acquisition are explored for illustration.

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parallel to Cognitive here as we believe that 
human being has innate ability of human mind to make sense 
of thing and thinking (= cogitation) that makes people unique 
and different from animals. We also believe in the existence 
of the Language Acquisition Device (LAD), and Universal 
Grammar (UG) of the Nativist's point of view or the IQ as 
Vygotsky's that can be regarded as the Internal factors. But In 
my opinion, the view of Critical Period Hypothesis (CPH) is 
open to doubt. The interactions think that L2 is different from 
L1 because of the CP. When studying L2, the CP appears and 
learners must rely mainly on the external factor [12], [14]. 
Howerver, we usually wonder if there is the existence of 
Critical Period and especially the time when this happen. 
May we show our opinion on this point through our own 
experience of learning L1 and L2. In our opinion, people 
learn L1 better and quickly than L2 partially because of the 
context of using language. When learning the mother tongue, 
learners have more chances to listen to the language and use 
language everyday with all people in society and every 
minute with everyone in the family. That can be called 
constant repetition, constant practice. At this point, the 
Behaviorism is parallel to our view. But when studying L2, 
the chance of listening, speaking, practising and using 
language is fewer or in some case, it's rare and of course the 
result must be different, the progress is slower. We began 
studying the L2 (or exactly we call it the foreign language) at 
the age of 7 so we found difficult to remember the word or 
the grammar rule. However, when we little grew up, we felt 
easier to learn by heart and when we become older and older 
we could remember and especially understand the grammar 
rules of the foreign language more easily and quickly. 
Moreover, after we gain some background knowledge, we 
could create our own way to master the rules to teach my 
own students. This happens not only to English but also to 
other subjects. When we were young, we found difficult to 
learn by heart the text in Vietnamese or to write a good essay. 
However, the older we are the better we compose the literary 
text. Therefore, we do not think the second or foreign 
language learning capacity is limited by the Critical Period. 
However, in our opinion, the ability of learning decreases 
when we become rather old, at the time our brains are so 
tired after a long time working so hard. It's also the time our 
body become biologically weaker because of old age, the 
228 Tran Thi Thanh Dieu: Some Vietnamese Viewpoints upon Second Language Acquistion Theories in Language Contact Environment 
biological rule. In the other word, it begins when we are old 
and our memory device can not work well anymore. 
Another example is our learners’ cases. They are at the 
same age and study in the same class, but their progress is 
different. Some have very good results, but some do not 
because they are different in the innate abilities of learning 
(different LAD, different innate ability of human mind to 
make sense of thing, different IQ). They also have different 
prior knowledge (background knowledge-UG), different 
ways to study, different efforts, different environments and 
situations [12]. This reminds us the second factor that also 
has strong influence on learner is the social factor. 
Second, as Halliday's point of view, a child in particular 
and human being in general is a social factor, not just a 
thinker. Human being has the social characteristics because 
they are members of a particular family, community, and of 
course of society. We can say that language learner is a 
“social being”. They are subjects that have feeling and 
emotion so they are certainly influenced by the external 
factors such as the culture, ethnicity. The learner's social 
identity may be defined in terms of his nationality, socio-
economic class.. Therefore, no-one can deny that the social 
identity has a strong affect on his learning opportunities and 
practise, as well as his attitudes towards the language and 
hence, his motivations and capacity to learn it. 
To illustrate this point of view, we can use the two cases of 
the Singaporean and Vietnamese, who learn English. They 
have different nationalities and live in the two different 
countries that have different attitudes towards English. 
Singaporeans almost consider English as their official 
language used very widely for many purpose: education, 
government and business, so Singaporeans have more 
opportunities to use English. Moreover, they also have a clear 
purpose to study English that leads to the motivation and of 
course it's easier and quickly for them to get progress or 
fluency. Whereas in Vietnam, English is not widely used so 
Vietnamese quite naturally have few opportunities to use or 
to improve English. Therefore, they hardly have purpose for 
learning as well unless they are in special jobs or situations 
where they have to meet foreigners who speak English. 
Last but not least, we would like to explore the importance 
of "Motivation" in the Sociolinguistic's theory, which 
contribute much to our learning. There are lots of factors that 
can play the role of Motivation: intrinsic and extrinsic, 
integrative and instrumental motivation reduced in a small 
word "purpose" [12]. No-one can doubt that our existence 
depends completely on our effort. However, what we can do 
is just concentrating all our best on studying to get as much 
knowledge as possible, the only hope from which we can use 
to apply for a job. Therefore, our purpose is knowledge, the 
factor helps us to earn for living. Knowledge is our desire so 
It may be called the "intrinsic motivation". In addition, the 
factor leading to our "intrinsic motivation" is our background, 
our situation, our fate  which no-one can choose so it 
should be called "extrinsic". Moreover, we use our 
knowledge to earn for living so this is the "instrumental 
motivation". Last but not least, the desire of existence in the 
society is also the desire of integration. In short, we may 
point to the fact that "motivation" plays the very important 
role in our learning. 
5. Conclusion 
Nothing is more valuable than a logical point of view 
which helps finding a right belief leading to a right progress 
and a satisfied result. Therefore, this research has been done 
although many things may be still irrational in our points of 
view as non-native speakers learning second language. 
However, based on the viewpoint of language acquisition, 
and through our learners’ and our own experience as learners, 
as well as language teachers, we have found that every theory 
is logical in a certain point. The Behaviourism has a 
contribution to the beginners' progress; whereas, the 
cognitive view is relevant to the learners at the second phase 
after they have accumulated enough background knowledge 
for their own creation of the language. The reason is that 
every language has its own rules of formation affected by not 
only what in human's mind as internal factors but also the 
external factors, the environment in which learners exist, 
following the view of Vygotsky and Halliday. As a result, we 
should not has a so strict critic on any theories despite their 
limit since no-one can deny that everything that has existed 
or used to exist has their own logical point. Sometimes we 
find it absurd, but time always passes so everything must be 
changed to make what we used to think logical become not 
logical anymore now because of the change of contexts. As a 
result, "Nếu ta bắn vào quá khứ bằng súng luc, tương lai sẽ 
bắn lại ta bằng đại bác" generally translated into English as 
"if we fire to the past by a gun, the future will fire to us by a 
cannon". As a result, as a proverb goes “we should not just 
see others' mistakes but be blind at our own” so what we 
should do is just analyzing everything to find their strength 
for us to apply and their weak points for us to prevent from. 
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