Bibliography of Materials on
Language Acquisition and Language Teaching
Archibald, John and Gary Libben (1995)
Research Perspectives on Second Language Acquisition. Toronto: Copp Clark.

A detailed and readable survey of current knowledge about second language learning. A rare combination of basic linguistic and psycholinguistic research with applied educational research. This book is regrettably out of print, but you may be able to find it in a library.

Asher, James J. (1977)
"Children Learning Another Language: A Developmental Hypothesis," Child Development 48.1040-1048.
The paper in which the originator of the Total Physical Response method of language teaching presented his approach.

Bialystok, Ellen and Kenji Hakuta (1994)
In Other Words: The Science and Psychology of Second-Language Acquisition. New York: Harper Collins.
A readable popular book on second language learning. Although the authors are more critical than most linguists of the Critical Period Hypothesis, they nonetheless support more structured, linguistic approaches to language teaching.

Doughty, Catherine (1991)
"Second language instruction does make a difference," Studies in Second Language Acquisition 13.431-469.

A sutudy that found that explicit grammatical instruction improves the learning of English relative clauses.

Doughty, Catherine and Jessica Williams (eds.) (1998)
Focus on Form in Classroom Second Language Acquisition. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press.

A collection of papers dealing with the focus-on-form approach, in which drills and exercises focussed on grammar are included in "communicative" language classes.

Dykstra, Gerald (1950)
"Teach Grammar," Language Learning 3.3-4.93-96.

Points out that it is impossible to learn a language without learning its grammar and discusses ways of teaching grammar. The author emphasizes the use of examples presenting contrasts that clearly and simply exemplify the grammatical point to be learned, followed by drills in which the student must use the information just presented. At first, the drills should be simple. These may be followed by more ocmplex drills, which combine the new point with previously learned material.

Ellis, Rod (1997)
SLA Research and Language Teaching. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

A summary of research on second language acquisition and how this knowledge can be applied to language teaching, by someone with experience in academic second language acquisition research, teacher training, and language teaching. A valuable resource for anyone trying to make sense of the debates over how languages should be taught.

Ellis, Rod (1997)
Second Language Acquisition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

A short, readable survey of the field of second language acquisition, including a section on language teaching. In addition to an 88 page survey, contains 24 short (31 pages altogether) extracts from the specialist literature, each with a short introduction. This is followed by an annotated bibliography and a glossary containing explanations of the terminology used in this field.

Engel, Dulcie and Florence Myles (1996)
"Grammar Teaching: The Major Concerns," in Dulcie Engel and Florence Myles (eds.) Teaching Grammar: Perspective in Higher Education London: Association for French Language Studies and Centre for Information on Language Teaching and Research. pp. 9-19.

A useful overview of the controversy regarding the teaching of grammar. It discusses the issues, the motivation for the different points of view, and the available evidence.

Higgs, Theodore V. and Ray Clifford (1982)
"The Push Toward Communication," in Theodore V. Higgs (ed.) Curriculum, Competence, and the Foreign Language Teacher ACTFL Foreign Language Education Series (Lincolnwood, Illinois: National Textbook Company) pp. 57-79.
The authors criticize communicative approaches that exclude grammar on the basis of their extensive experience with United States Government language training programs (the Foreign Service Institute, the CIA Language School, and the Monterey Language School). They provide evidence that university language majors rarely exceed the 2 or 2+ level of proficiency on the 5 point US Foreign Service scale. This means that results of studies based on university language programs are not necessarily relevant to the acquisition of higher levels of proficiency, with which the US Government language schools are particularly concerned. One segment of the students in the US Government courses consists of ``terminal 2s'', that is, students who cannot move beyond level 2 proficiency even with substantial additional instruction. They find that these students have good vocabulary but poor command of the grammar. They fail to progress because their attempts at communicating without controlling the appropriate grammar have caused them to create a pseudo-grammar which interferes with learning the real grammar of the language. These students are usually students who have previous experience with the language due to living in a foreign country or strongly communication-oriented language courses. They conclude that an overly communicative approach with little attention to grammar may lead to rapid development of basic communicative ability but can be expected to prevent the student from ever achieving high levels of proficiency.

Hoff-Ginsberg, Erika (1997)
Language Development. New York: Brooks/Cole Publishing.

A good general survey of language acquisition by a psychologist specializing in this area.

Johnson, J. and Elissa Newport (1989)
"Critical period effects in second lanuage learning: The influence of maturational state on the acquisition of English as a second language," Cognitive Psychology 21.60-99.

A major study that found a strong age effect.

Lotto, Lorella and Annette M. B. de Groot (1998)
"Effects of Learning Method and Word Type on Acquiring Vocabulary in an Unfamiliar Language," Language Learning 48.1.31-69.

Authors' abstract: This study examined the roles of learning method, word frequency, and cognate status in the learning of 80 Italian words by 56 Dutch learners previously unfamiliar with Italian. We contrasted 2 learning methods: word learning, where the Italian word was presented with its translation in Dutch, and picture learning, where it was presented with a picture depicting its referent. At test, either pictures or the Dutch words constituted the cues for recall of the Italian words. Recall was tested twice: once after 3 learning trials per stimulus, and a second time after an additional 3 learning trials. Two measures served as dependent variables: retrieval times and recall scores. The results show: (a) that word learning resulted in better performance than picture learning; (b) that performance was better when the study and test conditions were congruent than when they were incongruent; and (c) that cognates and high-frequency words were easier to learn than noncognates and low-frequency words. Particularly noteworthy is that after 6 learning trials performance had not yet become independent of learning method. We discuss the implications of these results for bilingual memory representation and for sequencing curricula for foreign-language learning.

Newport, Elissa L. (1990)
"Maturational constraints on language learning," Cognitive Science 14.11-28.

Presents evidence that people who learn American Sign Language as adolescents or young adults never achieve the native competence of deaf adults who learn sign language from infancy.

Oyama, S. (1976)
"A sensitive period in the acquisition of a nonnative phonological system," Journal of Psycholinguistic Research 5.261-285.

Found a strong effect on English pronounciation of Italian immigrants of age-at-arrival and no effect of number of years in the United States.

Oyama, Susan (1978)
"The sensitive period and comprehension of speech," Working Papers on Bilingualism 16.1-17.

A study that found a strong effect of age-at-arrival on the comprehension of English by Italian immigrants to the United States.

Patkowski, Mark S. (1980)
"The sensitive period for the acquisition of syntax in a second language," Language Learning 30.449-472.
Studied L2 learners' ultimate attainment of English syntax. Found a strong effect of age-at-arrival.

Patkowski, Mark S. (1990)
"Age and Accent in a Second Language: A Reply to James Emil Flege," Applied Linguistics 11.1.73-89.

Rosansky, Ellen J. (1976)
"Methods and Morphemes in Second Language Acquisition Research," {\it Language Learning\/} {\bf 26}.2.409-425.
An important study that undermines the claim that there is a fixed order of acquisition of English grammatical morphemes and that this order is the same for first and second language acquisition.

Snow, Catherine and M. Hoeffnagel-Höhle (1978)
"The critical period for language acquisition: Evidence from second language learning," Child Development 49.1114-1128.

Showed a lower rate of acquisition of grammar for younger children, with peak in 12-15 range. Both grammar and pronounciation fall off after this age.

VanPatten, Bill and Soile Oikkenon (1996)
"Explanation versus Structured Input in Processing Instruction," Studies in Second Language Acquisition 18.495-510.

Authors' abstract: This study replicates VanPatten and Cadierno (1993) in an attempt to determine whether or not explicit information given to learners receiving processing instruction is responsible for the beneficial effects of instruction. Fifty-nine subjects were divided into three groups: (1) one receiving processing instruction in object pronouns and word order in Spanish as in VanPatten and Cadierno (1993), (2) another receiving explanation only, with no activities or practice, (3) and another receiving only the structured input activities with no explanation. A pretest/post-test assessment was used involving two tests, an interpretation test and a sentence-level production test. Results showed that the beneficial effects of instruction were due to the structured input activities and not to the explicit information (explanation) provided to learners.

HOME BACK

Yinka Dene Language Institute 2001

Yinka Déné Language Institute © 2006