Site Search:
 

Banner

Teacher Discussion Forums Forum Index Teacher Discussion Forums
"The Internet's Meeting Place for ESL/EFL Students and Teachers from Around the World!"
 
 FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   RegisterRegister 
 ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 

Why Everyone Should Study Linguistics
Goto page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5  Next
 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Teacher Discussion Forums Forum Index -> Applied Linguistics
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
Stephen Jones



Joined: 18 May 2003
Posts: 1422

PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2008 4:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

With regard to Piraha, it does have some unusual features but it is hardly sufficient evidence per se to throw away the concept of universal grammar.

Systemic functional linguistics is a respectable theory, but it is confined to a couple of educational institutions, of which Macquarie is the most important. Remember that the guy who wrote the article is not a linguist.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
fluffyhamster



Joined: 26 Oct 2004
Posts: 3008
Location: UK > China > Japan > UK again

PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2008 1:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

'Unusual' or 'paradigm-shattering' features? I bet UGers could find a way to comfortably fit repeatedly breaking wind into their research (oh wait, actually they already have).
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Sally Olsen



Joined: 08 Apr 2004
Posts: 1311
Location: Canada,France, Brazil, Japan, Mongolia, Greenland, Canada, Mongolia, Ethiopia next

PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2008 8:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I thought that SFG was well accepted now in China and some other Asian countries. Halliday has an Institute in Hong Kong. People here seem to know what I am talking about when I mention it and the students are taking to it like ducks to water.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Stephen Jones



Joined: 18 May 2003
Posts: 1422

PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2008 9:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The China forums had a crazed acolyte of Hallidays for some years. It seemed they eventually booted him out of Hong Kong to the mainland. At least we now know where he learned his stuff.

I must get another copy of Systemic Functional Linguistics. I used to carry around the library copy but after two years I still hadn't finished it.

Someobody ought to see how much of it can fit with the minimalist approach, or the earlier three layer theory. I suspect there are no great difficulties involved in making a synthesis.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
fluffyhamster



Joined: 26 Oct 2004
Posts: 3008
Location: UK > China > Japan > UK again

PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2008 4:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Why would functionalists want to saddle themselves with the trappings of UG? If they'd thought much of it relevant or useful to their purposes they'd surely have attempted such a synthesis by now...hence the separate branches of linguistics being created (and why should it just be Chomsky who was justified in creating his own brand of linguistics in reaction to the limitations - more imagined than real in Chomsky's case, some would argue - of the previous style and school of thought?).

Not having a go or anything.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Stephen Jones



Joined: 18 May 2003
Posts: 1422

PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2008 11:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
the limitations - more imagined than real in Chomsky's case, some would argue - of the previous style and school of thought
Behaviourism only had one limitation as an explanation of language acquisition; the fact that it was completely and totally wrong. If you're prepared to live with that, bully for you!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
fluffyhamster



Joined: 26 Oct 2004
Posts: 3008
Location: UK > China > Japan > UK again

PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2008 5:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was referring primarily to Chomsky's apparent "mistrust" of real data (and his often baseless "derived" assertions, selectivity etc), as opposed to the functionalists - in particular the Hallidayans - getting stuck into texts galore. I don't think many linguists outside of America took Skinner that seriously (I wonder if Bloomfield himself really did ultimately, either), and the issue of acquisition will probably remain just so much icing on the cake for a long time to come, especially for those unopposed to looking at the actual facts of usage (i.e. functionalists probably prefer to just get on with other more immediate projects and sort of leave the real hand-waving and question-begging to Chomsky in the meantime); certainly, there seems to be nobody on Dave's who subscribes to crude Behaviourism (outside of e.g. pronunciation drills). (I refer everyone once again (yawn!) to R. de Beaugrande's take on this:
http://forums.eslcafe.com/teacher/viewtopic.php?p=32564#32564 )

My objection is not so much to the idea of innateness per se, but rather the way that Chomskyan linguistics claims to be rigorously scientific (or, indeed, to have pretty much proven its claims/theories and therefore worth for the main part).
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
woodcutter



Joined: 19 Jun 2004
Posts: 1303
Location: London

PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2008 10:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

UG certainly seems like one of Popper's unfalsifiable theorems to me, and people who specialize in tracking how kids learn language (rather chunkily it seems) tend to be some of the bigger cynics, I think.

Anyway all this just shows that this is the last part of linguistics that normal people ought to bother with, there are a lot of basic and simple facts that people could easily learn and benefit from. Another one of those is that bilingualism seems fairly easily obtainable for all children with decent input, it is helpful and not confusing.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message AIM Address Yahoo Messenger MSN Messenger
Stephen Jones



Joined: 18 May 2003
Posts: 1422

PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2008 11:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
here seems to be nobody on Dave's who subscribes to crude Behaviourism (outside of e.g. pronunciation drills).
You seem totally confused. Skinner's theories of first language acquisition are easily falsifiable. But second language learning is learned behaviour. Chomsky stated clearly that he saw no reason his theories should have any relevance to second language learning.

There are plenty of language teachers, myself included, who believe that repeated drilling and rote learning of whole phrases are both extremely valuable.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
woodcutter



Joined: 19 Jun 2004
Posts: 1303
Location: London

PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2008 1:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It doesn't really matter if Chomsky says that, because anyway people never stop quoting his work in connection to second language learning.

In fact, I don't think there is any consensus at all on what a transformational tree diagram from a Chomskyite actually represents. It seems clear that it is not supposed to represent an actual mental operation that we perform when making a sentence, but what then is it?
Deciding on that ought to have huge relevance to SLA.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message AIM Address Yahoo Messenger MSN Messenger
fluffyhamster



Joined: 26 Oct 2004
Posts: 3008
Location: UK > China > Japan > UK again

PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2008 3:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Stephen Jones wrote:
Quote:
here seems to be nobody on Dave's who subscribes to crude Behaviourism (outside of e.g. pronunciation drills).
You seem totally confused. Skinner's theories of first language acquisition are easily falsifiable. But second language learning is learned behaviour. Chomsky stated clearly that he saw no reason his theories should have any relevance to second language learning.

There are plenty of language teachers, myself included, who believe that repeated drilling and rote learning of whole phrases are both extremely valuable.


I like the way that you missed a 't' there, and have smeared me as 'confused' (have you been taking lessons off Chomsky himself?!). Probably nobody here (and that includes me!) is sympathetic to Skinner, or unsympathetic to boiling down SLL to "learned behaviour" (teacher teach, student learn dammit! Monkey see, monkey do), which includes drilling as and when necessary (or more!); and like woodcutter is now also saying, ESL teachers don't really need to have an opinion about L1 acquisition, and certainly do not need to bend the knee to Chomsky. But while we're on the subject, why should it be so gloriously incosnsistent to view both first and second language acquisition as learnt, as learning? It helps explain the diversity of languages in the world without us needing to have a fit, and doesn't underestimate the richness of the stimulus (poverty?!) that surrounds us as we grow up (which doesn't happen overnight, I've been led to believe). And has anyone read the sentence that follows the famous "skeptical of the significance of linguistics for language teaching" sentence? It reads, 'Surely the teacher of language would do well to keep informed of progress and discussion in these fields, and the efforts of linguists and psychologists to approach the problems of language teaching from a principled point of view are extremely worthwhile, from an intellectual as well as social point of view.' (I would add the rider 'especially if they can succeed in convincing language teachers of the validity of my theories, which should be proven beyond much doubt before long, after which all dissent will not be tolerated. Prepare the firing squads!').
http://www.google.co.uk/books?q=Newmeyer&btnG=Search+Books (click through to the 'Popular passages' section and select page 138 of Newmeyer's Grammatical Theory: Its Limits and Its Possibilities. Interestingly, the poetry quoted in the article on page 1 of this thread appears on page 150 of Newmeyer's book. Another example of another example doing the linguistic rounds in the nativist camp?).
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
ouyang



Joined: 28 Oct 2007
Posts: 170
Location: The Milky Way

PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2008 3:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think transformational tree diagrams represent the hierarchical phrasal relationships involved in forming sentences. Is that "hugely relevant" to SLA? I don't know. I'm not really convinced that these tree diagrams are capable of diagramming some sentence structures.

They replaced IC Analysis tree diagrams that had undergone several modifications, like the addition of hooks to be able to indicate interrupted phrases. But the few transformational tree diagrams that I've seen have always been of very simple sentences.


BTW, the following diagram seems to be constructed incorrectly, in that a VP node has been omitted resulting in a three way branch.


Here's a "Deep syntax tree diagram" that claims to reflect how a verbal phrase acts as a subject complement in the sentence,
"John seems to know the answer."



Does it? In Reed Kellogg sentence diagrams, I believe interrogative and declarative statements were represented by the same diagrams. I'd like to learn more about tree diagrams, but I suspect they have limited potential in an ESL classroom.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
fluffyhamster



Joined: 26 Oct 2004
Posts: 3008
Location: UK > China > Japan > UK again

PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2008 3:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sally Olsen wrote:
That is what is fun about learning the new language or at least part of it because they have words for things we haven't ever had to name. We had a wonderful contents in Canada on BBC radio to name things that happen often and you would like to have a name for, such as what do you call the part of the seat belt or your coat belt that hangs out of the car by accident when you close the door and gets all dirty. It was great fun. There are so many things we haven't named with one or two words and we could.


Heh, I thought I should post the link to that other thread then, Sally. Hope you enjoy it!
http://forums.eslcafe.com/job/viewtopic.php?t=21019
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Stephen Jones



Joined: 18 May 2003
Posts: 1422

PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2008 9:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
But while we're on the subject, why should it be so gloriously inconsistent to view both first and second language acquisition as learnt, as learning?

Innate skills: LI acquisition; walking.
Almost universal amongst the species
Most members of the species achieve approximately the same competence
Achievement unrelated to amount of input provided there is a minimum
Follows a clear chronological development, and is tied to stages in the organisms growth


Learned skills: Foreign language learning; playing the piano.
Only affects a part of the population
Vast differences in skills between different practitioners
Achievement clearly positively correlated to training, teaching and input
No cut off point for learning, and not tied to developmental stages

If it walks like a duck, looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck you don't call it a lesser-spotted water buffalo.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
woodcutter



Joined: 19 Jun 2004
Posts: 1303
Location: London

PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2008 10:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

One of the problems is the idea that some meat cleaver falls at some point and we can't learn a first language after that. People say that they think this is true, but they don't seem to behave that way. They just have to keep dragging Chomsky into second language learning. It is all very well for S Jones to go on as if first and second language learning are clean different things, but during my applied ling.MA I heard a lot about Noam and nothing about good ways to lead classroom parroting.

I would like to see the experiments where kids have been deprived of decent input for L1 acquisition. I submit there have been none, it is just hearsay about the tribespeople of the X-mountains, as per usual. And who says attainment is the same? Ever marked any high school exams?

Watching my 2 year old these days running around repeating like a maniac, and asking "what's inside" 1000 times a day, it makes me think that no deaf teenager or wild boy from the forest could get the amount of useful interaction he receives due to being a cute ball of fun. Not only is the amount of input a child receives so immense you cannot replicate it for L2, as I know Stephen believes, the social context is also hard to replicate.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message AIM Address Yahoo Messenger MSN Messenger
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Teacher Discussion Forums Forum Index -> Applied Linguistics All times are GMT
Goto page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5  Next
Page 2 of 5

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


Teachers College, Columbia University: Train to Teach English Here or Abroad
SIT

This page is maintained by the one and only Dave Sperling.
Contact Dave's ESL Cafe
Copyright © 2011 Dave Sperling. All Rights Reserved.

Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2002 phpBB Group