by SD Krashen · 1981 · Cited by 14424 — evidence that this is the case “is our observation that the subject is able to write a virtually error-free English. In writing, and in careful speech,

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Copyright © 1981 Stephen Krashen All Rights Reserved. This publication may be downloaded and copied without charge for all reasonable, non-commercial educational purposes, provided no alterations in the text are made. First printed edition 1981 by Pergamon Press Inc. Print Edition ISBN 0-08-025338-5 First internet edition December 2002 i

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Acknowledgments I would like to thank the following journals and organizations for granting permission to reprint material: Newbury House, the Center for Applied Linguistics, Language Learning, TESOL, the SPEAQ Journal, Academic Press. I have had a great deal of help and feedback from many people in writing this book. Among the many scholars and friends I am indebted to are Marina Burt, Earl Stevick, Heidi Dulay, Robin Scarcella, Rosario Gingras, Nathalie Bailey, Carolyn Madden, Georgette Ioup, Linda Galloway, Herbert Seliger, Noel Houck, Judith Robertson, Steven Sternfeld, Batyia Elbaum, Adrian Palmer, John Oller, John Lamendella, Evelyn Hatch, John Schumann, Eugene Brière, Diane Larsen-Freeman, Larry Hyman, Tina Bennet, Ann Fathman, Janet Kayfetz, Ann Peters, Kenji Hakuta, Elinor Ochs, Elaine Andersen, Peter Shaw, and Larry Selinker. I also would like to express my thanks to those scholars whose work has stimulated my own thinking in the early stages of the research reported on here: John Upshur, Leonard Newmark, and S. Pit Corder all recognized the reality of language “acquisition” in the adult long before I did. I would also like the thank Eula P. Krashen and Judy Winn-Bell Olsen for their special contributions. ii

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Contents Introduction 1 1. Individual Variation in the Use of the Monitor 12 2. Attitude and Aptitude in Second Language Acquisition and Learning 19 3. Formal and Informal Linguistic Environments in Language Acquisition and Language Learning 40 4. The Domain of the Conscious Grammar: The Morpheme Studies 51 5. The Role of the First Language in Second Language Acquisition 64 6. The Neurological Correlates of Language Acquisition: Current Research 70 7. On Routines and Patterns in Language Acquisition and Performance 83 8. Relating Theory and Practice in Adult Second Language Acquisition 100 9. The Theoretical and Practical Relevance of Simple Codes in Second Language Acquisition 119 Bibliography 138 iii

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Introduction This book is concerned with what has been called the “Monitor Theory” of adult second language acquisition. Monitor Theory hypothesizes that adults have two independent systems for developing ability in second languages, subconscious language acquisition and conscious language learning, and that these systems are interrelated in a definite way: subconscious acquisition appears to be far more important. The introduction is devoted to a brief statement of the theory and its implications for different aspects of second language acquisitions theory and practice. We define acquisition and learning, and present the Monitor Model for adult second language performance. Following this, brief summaries of research results in various areas of second language acquisition serve as both an overview of Monitor Theory research over the last few years and as introduction to the essays that follow. Acquisition and Learning and the Monitor Model for Performance Language acquisition is very similar to the process children use in acquiring first and second languages. It requires meaningful interaction in the target language– natural communication–in which speakers are concerned not with the form of their utterances but with the messages they are conveying and understanding. Error correction and explicit teaching of rules are not relevant to language acquisition (Brown and Hanlon, 1970; Brown, Cazden, and Bellugi, 1973), but caretakers and native speakers can modify their utterances addressed to acquirers to help them understand, and these modifications are thought to help the acquisition process (Snow and Ferguson, 1977). It has been hypothesized that there is a fairly stable order of acquisition of structures in language acquisition, that is, one can see clear 1

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similarities across acquirers as to which structures tend to be acquired early and which tend to be acquired late (Brown, 1973; Dulay and Burt, 1975). Acquirers need not have a conscious awareness of the “rules” they possess, and may self- correct only on the basis of a “feel” for grammaticality. Conscious language learning, on the other hand, is thought to be helped a great deal by error correction and the presentation of explicit rules (Krashen and Seliger, 1975). Error correction it is maintained, helps the learner come to the correct mental representation of the linguistic generalization. Whether such feedback has this effect to a significant degree remains an open question (Fanselow, 1977; Long, 1977). No invariant order of learning is claimed, although syllabi implicitly claim that learners proceed from simple to complex, a sequence that may not be identical to the acquisition sequence. The fundamental claim of Monitor Theory is that conscious learning is available to the performer only as a Monitor. In general, utterances are initiated by the acquired system–our fluency in production is based on what we have “picked up” through active communication. Our “formal” knowledge of the second language, our conscious learning, may be used to alter the output of the acquired system, sometimes before and sometimes after the utterance is produced. We make these changes to improve accuracy, and the use of the Monitor often has this effect. Figure 1 illustrates the interaction of acquisition and learning in adult second language production. Fig.1. Model for adult second language performance The acquisition-learning distinction, as I have outlined it, is not new: Lawler and Selinker (1971) propose that for rule internalization one can “postulate two distinct types of cognitive structures: (1) those mechanisms that guide ‘automatic’ language performance that is, performance where speed and spontaneity are crucial and the learner has no time to consciously apply linguistic mechanisms and (2) those mechanisms that guide puzzle- or problem-solving 2

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Note that the model presented here allows us to self-correct using acquired knowledge of language, or our “feel” for grammaticality. That is what native speakers generally do in the case of speech errors. The point is not that we can only monitor using conscious rules. This is not the case. The point is that conscious learning is only available as a Monitor. In the last few years, the acquisition-learning distinction has been shown to be useful in explaining a variety of phenomena in the field of second language acquisition. While many of these phenomena may have alternative explanations, the claim is that the Monitor Theory provides for all of them in a general, non ad hoc way that satisfies the intuitions as well as the data. The papers in this volume review this research, and include discussion of how the second language classroom may be utilized for both acquisition and learning. Individual Variation Chapter 1, based on a paper written in 1976 and published in Ritchie (1978), describes how the learning-acquisition distinction captures one sort of individual variation in second language performance. Based on case histories, this section proposes that there are basically three types of performer: Monitor “overusers” are performers who feel they must “know the rule” for everything and do not entirely trust their feel for grammaticality in the second language. One case, “S”, described by Stafford and Covitt (1978), remarked: “I feel bad when I put words together and I don’t know nothing about the grammar.” In Stevicks terms (Stevick, 1976, p. 78), overusers may suffer from “lathophobic aphasia”, an “unwillingness to speak for fear of making a mistake”. At the other extreme is the underuser, who appears to be entirely dependent on what he can “pick up” of the second language. Underusers seem to be immune to error correction, and do not perform well on “grammar” test. They may acquire a great deal of the target language, however, and often use quite complex constructions. The optimal user is the performer who uses learning as a real supplement to acquisition, monitoring when it is appropriate and 4

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when it does not get in the way of communication (e.g. prepared speech and writing). Very good optimal users may, in fact, achieve the illusion of native speaker competence in written performance. They “keep grammar in its place”, using it to fill gaps in acquired competence when such monitoring does not get in the way of communication. Attitude and Aptitude Chapter 2 illustrates how the acquisition-learning hypothesis provides a parsimonious explanation for what had appeared (to me) to be a mysterious finding: both language aptitude, as measured by standard language aptitude tests, and language attitude (affective variable) are related to adult second language achievement, but are not related to each other. This section explores two hypotheses that attempt to account for this problem. The first is that aptitude may be directly related to conscious learning (especially certain components as detailed in Chapter 2). As we shall see in Chapter 2, scores on aptitude tests show a clear relationship to performance on “monitored” test situation and when conscious learning has been stressed in the classroom. Second language attitude refers to acquirers’ orientations toward speakers of the target language, as well as personality factors. The second hypothesis is that such factors relate directly to acquisition and only indirectly to conscious learning. Briefly, the “right” attitudinal factors produce two effects: they encourage useful input for language acquisition and they allow the acquirer to be “open” to this input so it can be utilized for acquisition. The pedagogical implications of these hypotheses will not surprise many experienced teachers: if the direct relationship between acquisition and attitudinal factors does exist, and if our major goal in language teaching is the development of communicative abilities, we must conclude that attitudinal factors and motivational factors are more important the aptitude. This is because conscious learning makes only a small contribution to communicative ability. Chapter 2 also contains a discussion of the nature of child-adult differences, claiming that the Monitor, the conscious grammar, may 5

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owe its source to Piaget’s Formal Operations stage. Affective changes that occur around puberty, some related to Formal Operations, affect language acquisition. The chapter concludes with a re-definition of the “good language learner”, now defined as someone who is first and foremost an acquirer, and who may also be an “optimal Monitor user”. Chapter 2 originally appeared in Diller (1980). Formal and Informal Linguistic Environments Chapter 3 is a revised version of a paper that appeared in the TESOL Quarterly in 1976 (see Krashen, 1976a). It shows how the acquisition-learning distinction helps to solve a puzzle in the second language acquisition research literature: several studies apparently show that formal learning environments are best for attaining second language proficiency, while other studies appear to show that informal environments are superior. In this section, it is argued that informal environments, when they promote real language use (communication) are conducive to acquisition, while the formal environment has the potential for encouraging both acquisition and learning. This chapter, then, begins the discussion of the potential of the second language classroom for language acquisition, a discussion that is continued in later sections (Chapters 8 and 9). The Domain of the Conscious Grammar: The Morpheme Studies Chapter 4 reviews research pertaining to acquisition or difficulty order of certain structures, that is, which structures adult second language acquirers tend to acquire early and which they tend to acquire late. The value of these studies is considerable. They provide more information than merely showing us the actual order of acquisition. They also show us when performers are using conscious grammar and when they are not. We have hypothesized that when conditions for “Monitor-free” performance are met, when performers are focused on communication and not form, adult errors in English as a second language (for grammatical morphemes in obligatory occasions1) are quite similar to errors made by children acquiring English as a second 6

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language (some similarities to first language acquisition have been noted as well). When second language speakers “monitor”, when they focus on form, this “natural order” is disturbed. The appearance of child-like errors in Monitor-free conditions is hypothesized to be a manifestation of the acquired system operating in isolation, or with little influence of the Monitor. Current research in the “morpheme studies” supports the hypothesis that second language performers utilize the conscious grammar extensively only when they have to do extreme “discrete-point” grammar tests, test that test knowledge of rules and vocabulary in isolation. Also included in Chapter 4 is a response to some criticisms of the morpheme studies. Material in Chapter 4 was previously published in Gingras (Krashen, 1978b) and in a paper appearing in On TESOL ’77 (Krashen, 1977a). The Role of the First Language Chapter 5 deals with so-called first language “interference”. It attempts to provide some empirical data for a position first held by Newmark (1966): “interference” is not the first language “getting in the way” of second language skills. Rather, it is the result of the performer “falling back” on old knowledge when he or she has not yet Fig. 2. First language influence in second language performance. acquired enough of the second language. In terms of the Monitor performance model, interference is the result of the use of the first language as an utterance initiator: first language competence may replace acquired second language competence in the performance model, as in Fig. 2. From the data we have so far, this hypothesis correctly predicts that those aspects of syntax that tend to be acquired are also those that show first-language-influenced errors in second language performance. 7

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