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Stephen Krashen, an interview

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emk
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 Message 17 of 52
25 February 2013 at 10:24pm | IP Logged 
s_allard wrote:
I think that the weakness of the pure Natural Approach (i.e. no formal grammar) is that the learner may imperfectly (re)construct the target grammar. It could also be a form of fossilization whereby certain incorrect forms become crystallized in the learner's speech forever unless there is an explicit effort to remove them.


Interestingly, native speakers also appear to experience fossilization. When I was 5 or 6, I was still pronouncing "three" like "free". The school system noticed this problem, and signed me up for pronunciation drills with a speech therapist. With a little bit of practice, the problem started to go away. Now, I'm guessing that I would have figured out the "th" sound on my own, sooner or later. But the process was very nearly identical to my French tutor trying to correct my tapped Rs in French.

And I'm still struggling to acquire a natural and bug-free model of French gender. But if a French 6-year-old were still making gender errors, than an orthophoniste would pull out a copy of Bon genre Bon nombre and start playing games.

Still, adults do seem to be more susceptible to fossilization than children. And if this is really the case, it would suggest that adults are more likely to require some kind of explicit intervention to fully exploit their input.
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s_allard
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 Message 18 of 52
25 February 2013 at 10:55pm | IP Logged 
As a follow-up on @emb's post, I certainly agree that native speakers do exhibit imperfect acquisition of language. I would suggest that this is a factor in linguistic change.

On the question of gender, which is one of the most difficult things to master in French, I think that the problem is fundamentally one of the acquisition of the syntactic framework in its entirety. To master the gender system the learner must learn to think in a sort of linear fashion and always track the gender of the key nouns. The big mistake is to think in terms of isolated words. So, once you get past the word and its associated gender, you forget about it. This is precisely why people make gender agreement mistakes. The problem isn't really the gender of nouns, it's gender agreement that's tricky.

We see something similar in English (and even more so in French) with verb forms that must agree in number with the headwords. We know that in English there are all kinds of funny situations where a plural form noun (.e.g. news) requires a singular verb and singular form nouns (e.g. the police) will require a plural verb. And things like "100 dollars is a lot of money."

I would tend to think that children acquire proper syntax proper quite early. And they are very often corrected by parents and peers. Then they enter the school system at an early age.
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Majka
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 Message 19 of 52
25 February 2013 at 11:04pm | IP Logged 
emk wrote:
Still, adults do seem to be more susceptible to fossilization than children.

emk, I don't think it is really as clear-cut as this. Children get a ton of corrective input adults don't get - everybody and their dog feels free to correct children. Adults have to ask for feedback or look for the subtle signs. Correcting adults is usually "not done" and depending on the culture, sometimes even perceived as rude.

Adults can can learn to self-correct through very careful listening or reading, or looking for signs when conversing with natives. But this is a skill like any other. Not all people have it.

Nothing beats good feedback but in my opinion it doesn't need to be that often. In this case, I am advocating quality over quantity. If I need to choose, a private, a high quality lesson once in a month to pinpoint the problems and to outline how to work on how to get better will win every time.
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slucido
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 Message 20 of 52
26 February 2013 at 12:58am | IP Logged 
Aaron Myers interviews Stephen Krashen. Very interesting.Here you have the youtube video:


http://youtu.be/swW1vcG65x8

Edited by slucido on 26 February 2013 at 4:58pm

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s_allard
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 Message 21 of 52
27 February 2013 at 11:17pm | IP Logged 
slucido wrote:
Aaron Myers interviews Stephen Krashen. Very interesting.Here you have the youtube video:


http://youtu.be/swW1vcG65x8

This interview is really interesting. When asked about his language learning experience towards the beginning of the interview, Krashen mentions that as a young man travelling in Europe in the 50s, he became interested in learning French and ended up in a class at the Alliance fran├žaise in Paris. Krashen then points out that the class was all on grammar (a bad thing I suppose) but all in French (a good thing: comprehensible input). So he ended up learning French quite well.
Interesting.
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Astrophel
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 Message 22 of 52
28 February 2013 at 3:44pm | IP Logged 
I've had success by plowing through a grammar book, not bothering to master it but just
be exposed to the correct grammar and maybe half-remember it, and then go all natural.
That's what I'm doing with Russian, which I just picked up, and I don't have to memorize
all those cases to be able to remember them when I encounter them in context, which means
incomprehensible input becomes comprehensible input, and thus I crystallize the correct
grammar rather than guessing incorrectly what the forms mean.
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schoenewaelder
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 Message 23 of 52
28 February 2013 at 4:16pm | IP Logged 
emk wrote:
When I was 5 or 6, I was still pronouncing "three" like "free". The school system noticed this problem, and signed me up for pronunciation drills with a speech therapist.


Have you read "Me talk pretty one day" ? The first few pages, where they come to take him away, must be amongst the funniest things I have ever read. And all the stuff about french classes is good too. Not sure about the rest of the book, but it's worth the money just for that.
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schoenewaelder
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 Message 24 of 52
28 February 2013 at 4:22pm | IP Logged 
Majka wrote:
   Children get a ton of corrective input adults don't get - everybody and their dog feels free to correct children.


If you live in France, you may continue to benefit from this, well into your adult life. I often (ok, maybe half a dozen times) have seen non-native interviewees on TV being corrected as to the gender of a word they have just said.

(I think it may be due to the fact that if someone does actually speak the language to a high level, it is quite "startling" when they make minor mistakes, and you instinctively correct them. I suspect at a lower standard, they tolerate the mistakes)

Edited by schoenewaelder on 28 February 2013 at 5:37pm



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