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113 Cards in this Set

  • Front
  • Back
definition of research
A systematic and principled approach to finding answers
to questions
research question
Must be clear--A research design is based on it

4 ways to address research questions
1. observation
2. questioning (surveys, interviews)
3. experimentation (for testing methods)
4. elicitation (taking large samples of lg. & analyzing, looking for patterns)
Gives overview of a research article and contains same elements as an article: purpose, research question, methods, results, discussion/conclusion.
formal/informal research
formal: Systematic in nature, there is a careful control of factors based
on existing theories, principled.

informal: Not generalizable, but often insightful.
Interchangeable term with research question. A guess,
prediction, statement or question that is proved or disproven
Based on data, either quantitative or qualitative
characteristics of quantitative research
Experimental research using measurement data. Deductive,
controlled, objective, obstrusive, interventionist,
reductionist, product-oriented, generalizable.
deductive (approach to research)
Starting with a theory or hypothesis, then using data to test it.
experimental research
Includes treatment, control group, random assignment,
and inferential statistics.
quasi-experimental research
Uses inferential stats. Not a random sample. It’s a practical compromise between true experiments and human behavior. Doesn't claim causality, but makes generalizations.
[synonym] experimental group-- in contrast w/ the control group. The treatment group receives the treatment.
control group
Experimental research--does not receive the treatment. The difference in the outcome is due to the treatment group.
random assignment
Every subject has the same chance of being in either the treatment or control group.
inferential statistics
Occurs in experimental & qualitative research. Used to make predictions. Investigates the extent to which descriptive stats represents a larger population of other similar data sets. Generalizable.
Extent to which the findings of 1 study can be used as knowledge about other populations and situations. To predict.
causal relationships
Need vast amounts of info & evidence to prove causation. Very rare, avoid cause and prove when discussing the results of an experiment. Never infer causation from correlation.
characteristics of qualitative research
-as opposed to quantitative or statistical research
-not guided by hypotheses but by Qs, issues, and a search for patterns
-can look at issues in social context neglected w/ quant. research
-ungeneralizable, inductive, subjective, uncontrolled, descriptive, interpretive, non-experimental
4 types of qualitative research
1) ethnographic studies-study many aspects of an issue, study interaction in context, e.g. Why black Ss don’t do well
2) diaries-introspective examination of L2 learner’s behavior in learning lg
3) case studies-single individual studied over long period of time-e.g. How Japanese man acquires lg over time
4) discourse analysis-analysis of oral written texts (audio/videotapes), go in w/ question & analyze
inductive (approach to research)
Observes patterns in data which leads to questions. Qualitative research is inductive.
anecdotal evidence
Evidence based only on pers.experience which can’t be quantified. Not 2 groups (control & treatment) being compared.
observer's paradox
Difficulty of ensuring that what we observe is natural & not affected by observer’s presence.
the conventions of a research article
-Introduction-contains purpose & research Qs, where does study fit in SLA research
-Method-subjects, materials, procedures, who has done study, what was done to subjects, how data is to be analyzed
-Results (Findings)-statistical results or patterns observed, analysis of data
-Discussion/Conclusion-answers to research question, implications for field
-References-how many, how recent, how respected & thorough
descriptive statistics
as opposed to inferential stats.; uses tables to summarize test results, include measures of central tendency and dispersion.
The average of a set of data; is a measure of central tendency
standard deviation
Summarizes how much numbers are spread from the mean; is a measure of dispersion
Compare correlation coefficients in inferential statistics; correlations show the degree of relationship between 2 #s.
-0 means no relationship
-Positive relationship-as one goes up, the other goes up
-Negative relationship-as one goes up, the other goes down
How likely that the results would have occurred by chance; determined in inferential statistical studies.

Probability ranges from 0 to 1.
-When it is certain that an event will occur, its probability is 0.
2. When it is impossible for an event to occur, its probability is 1.00.

The probability levels that are used by convention are .05 and .01.

p<.05 or p<.01 are considered significant because this means there is a low probability that the results could have occurred by chance (less than 5% and 1% respectively)

more than .05 = there is no significance; results seen as having been able to occur by chance alone, not as a result of treatment
significance vs. meaningfulness
Significance = the observed differences in a study are seen to be as result of the treatment of controlled factors, are not purely accidental-this is significant.Meaningfulness = valuable to the field of SLA, but may not be significant in a given test situation.
Means of testing or collecting data (eg., questionnaire, elicitation, observation, experimentation, using databases)
self-report data
People assess themselves; used in motivation studies.
View of SLA that prevailed before 1957
-We learn lg through habit formation
-Language study should focus on the structures & systems of lg.
-Prescriptive grammar prevails. “This is how you should speak.”· Eg., rote drills, imitation, correction of errors, segmenting of words into parts, parsing of sentences
View of SLA-Noam Chomsky, 1957 Lg is not a habit structure.

-Universal grammar
-We are biologically programmed to learn lg.
-Lg study focuses on exposure to natural lg.
-Grammar is Descriptive.
interactionism (snow, berko-gleason)
View of SLA-Vygotsky & Piaget

-Lg. acquisition is closely related & often dependent on a child’s development & experience.
-There is a biological component to lg acquisition which is activated by interaction w/ the environment.
-Piaget: Children’s cognitive development largely determines lg. acquisition.
-Vygotsky: Lg develops entirely from social interaction as a result of the help of a “caring guide” & the provision of interaction at a level higher than the learner’s actual development (higher than their “zone of proximal development.”)
prescriptive grammar
Prescriptive grammars are often based not on descriptions of actual usage but rather on the grammarian’s views of what is best or most correct.
descriptive grammar
A grammar which describes how a language is actually spoken and/or written, and does not state or prescribe how it ought to be spoken or written.
The knowledge of how language works
The language we actually use in listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Errors may occur due to inattention or fatigue.
Chomsky referred to this as the source of children’s innate ability to construct the language structure of their L1. Now known as Universal Grammar.
language universals
According to Chomsky’s innatism, language universals are inherent within UG. Nearly five thousand languages are spoken in the world today. They seem to be quite different, but still, many of them show similar principles, such as word order.
universal grammar (UG)
“UG is considered to consist of a set of principles which are common to all languages.” (L&S, p.16)
communicative competence (Del Hymes)
The ability to use language in a variety of settings, taking into account relationships between speakers and differences in situations.
metalinguistic knowledge/awareness
The ability to treat language as an object, for example, being able to define a word, or to say what sounds make up that word.
simultaneous bilingualism
The bilingual ability of people who hear more than one language virtually from birth.
sequential bilingualism
The bilingual ability of those who begin to learn a second language later.
subtractive bilingualism
When children are “submerged” in a second language for long periods in early schooling or day care, children may begin to lose the family language before they have developed an age-appropriate mastery of the new language.
developmental sequences
The order in which certain features of a language (for example, negation) are acquired in language learning. Also called developmental stages.
order of acquisition
In 1960s, Roger Brown researched three children acquiring 14 grammatical morphemes in a remarkably similar sequence.

A child who had mastered the grammatical morphemes at the bottom of the list was sure to have mastered those at the top, but the reverse was not true.
grammatical morphemes
Grammatical morphemes are usually referring to smaller units, which are added to words to alter their meaning
longitudinal studies
A study in which the same learners are studied over a period of time. This contrasts with a cross-sectional study.
cross-sectional studies
A research method in which subjects at different ages and stages of development are studied.
simplified input
Motherese and foreigner talk are forms of simplified language. They are characterized by repetition, lots of context, gestures, simplified grammar, etc.
The simple speech used by mothers, fathers, babysitters, etc., when they talk to young children who are learning to talk.
motherese contains:
1) shorter utterances than speech to other adults
2) grammatically simple utterances
3) Few abstract or difficult words, with a lot of repetition,
4) clearer pronunciation, sometimes with exaggerated intonation patterns
foreigner talk
The type of speech often used by native speakers of a language when speaking to foreigners who are not proficient in the language. Some of the characteristics contain:
1) slower and louder than normal speech, often with exaggerated pronunciation
2) uses simpler vocabulary and grammar. For example, articles, functions words, and inflections may be omitted, and complex verb forms are replaced by simpler ones.
3) topics are sometimes repeated or moved o the front of sentences, for example: “your bag? Where you leave your bag?”
Noam Chomsky (1957) father of Universal Grammar and Innatism. Believes language is a set of abstract rules that are internalized and unconscious, it is not a habit structure. His views in a nutshell:
1) We are biologically programmed to learn languages (LAD- Language Acquisition Device)
2) Language study focuses on exposure to natural language
3) Grammar is descriptive
Acquisition- requires meaningful interaction in the TL-natural communication- in which speakers are concentrated not in the form of their but in the communicative act. Learning- formal instruction and it comprises a conscious process which results in conscious knowledge “about” the language. Learning is less important than acquisition.
silent period
Krashen believes that speech emerges in stages, and that comprehension precedes production. Thus, the first stage of acquisition is comprehension, and it begins with the “silent period.” Some acquirers need a silent period which may last form a few hours, some need several months. Acquirers should not be forced to speak until they are ready.
The language learner’s “referee” or “editor”
affective filter
an imaginary barrier which prevents learners from acquiring language from the available input
comprehensible input (CI)
input the contains forms and structures just beyond the learner’s current level of competence in the language
Contrastive Analysis Hypothesis- Often linked to Behaviorism. The CAH predicts that where there are similarities between the first language and the target language, the learner will acquire target-language structures with ease; where there are differences, the learner will have difficulty.
Monitor Model
Defines the role of grammar. The “monitor” or “editor” acts in a planning, editing and correcting function when three specific conditions are met: learner has sufficient time at her disposal, focuses on form or correctness, and she knows the rule.
Natural Order Hypothesis
follows research which states that the acquisition of grammatical structures follows a “natural order” which is predictable. Some structures tend to be acquired earlier, while others later.
Input Hypothesis
explanation of how SLA takes place. Learner improves and progresses along the “natural order” when she receives Second Language input that is one step beyond her current stage of linguistic competence.
Affective Filter Hypothesis
a number of “affective variables” play a facilitative, but non-causal, role in SLA, these variables are: motivation, self confidence and anxiety. Low motivation, low self-esteem, and debilitating anxiety can combine to “raise” the affective filter and form a “mental block” that prevents CI from being used for acquisition.
= Learning is held to consist of the STRENGTHENING of CONNECTIONS in complex neural networks in which the FREQUENCY of patterns in input determines the STRENGTH/WEIGHT of the connections
interactionist SLA theories
Key proponents: Long, Pica, Vygotsky, Piaget, Nunan

Interactionists believe language which is modified to suit the capability of the learner is a crucial element in the language acquisition process.
structured environment
an instructional (i.e., classroom) environment for language learning
cognitive development
2 Approaches to Interactionism w/ differing views of cognitive development (i.e., “thinking growth”):

-Piaget: Believed children’s cognitive developmentlargely determines language acquisition

-Vygotsky: Language develops entirely from social interaction as a result of the help of a “caring guide” and the provision of interaction at a level higher than the learner’s actual development
A type of error resulting from trying to use a rule in a context where it does not belong

Ex. Putting a regular –ed ending on an irregular verb, such as “buyed” instead of “bought”
agency and language learning
how language learners make effective use of a variety of intellectual and social resources to gain access to peer networks
correlation measures of motivation, personality, etc.
Means of establishing the strength of relationship between two variables
individual differences in SLA
Second language learners’ success varies greatly due to:
1. Personality characteristics
2. Intelligence
3. Aptitude
4. Motivation
5. Attitudes
personality characteristics
Common belief = extroverts best suited to language learning but res. doesn’t always support. Many successful language learners do not get high scores on measures of extroversion
intelligence and SLA
Verbal IQ tests have shown intelligence may be a strong factor when it comes to language analysis and rule learning
aptitude and SLA
Language aptitude is thought to be a combination of various abilities such as:
1. oral mimicry ability (ability to imitate sounds not heard before)
2. phonemic coding ability (ability to identify sound patterns in a new language)
3. grammatical sensitivity (the ability to recognize the different grammatical functions of words in sentences)
4. ROTE-LEARNING ability
5. the ability to infer language rules.

A person with high language aptitude can learn more quickly and easily than a person with low language aptitude, all other factors being equal.
motivation and attitudes and SLA
overall findings show positive attitude and motivation ARE related to success in SLA BUT res. cannot indicate precisely HOW motivation is related to learning
integrative motivation
S learning L2 for “personal growth and cultural enrichment”
instrumental motivation
Language learning for immediate or practical goals
power relationship between languages
Language exists in social contexts. Cannot overlook unequal power relationships when consider factors affecting success in L2 learning
-S’s attitudes towards TL group
-TL culture’s attitudes towards S’s minority group
language access
In order to have the opportunities to practice speaking L2 with NES
-->L2 Learners must claim more powerful social positions in order to have access to TL culture
learner identity (Norton and Toohey)
“The ability [of the learner] to participate as a competent member in the practices of a [target language] group.
human agency (Norton and Toohey)
Learners’ ability to recognize and use intellectual (schemata) and social resources to gain access to a network of peers
learner preferences
An individual’s natural, habitual and preferred way of absorbing, (same as learner styles) processing, and retaining new information and skills
learner styles
visual, auditory, kinesthetic, tactile
learner beliefs
Learners’ opinions about how instruction should be delivered, usually based on previous learning experiences and the assumption (right or wrong) that a particular type of instruction is the best way for them to learn.
field dependent learners (field-sensitive)
o These learners are more inclined to see the whole drawing
and have difficulty separating it into parts; learner can’t isolate details. They see the background but have difficulty in separating details.
field independent learners
These learners are quick to pick out the hidden figures in a complicated drawing; learner is able to isolate elements from context. They can pick out the details, but don’t necessarily see the whole.
Critical Period Hypothesis
The Critical Period Hypothesis suggests that there is a time in human development when the brain is predisposed for success in language learning. It is most often claimed that the critical period ends somewhere around puberty, but some researchers suggest it could be even earlier
Lenneberg (1967)
Biologist.Eric Lenneberg supports the Critical Period Hypothesis.

Lenneberg claimed that the LAD (Language Acquisition Device) [natural predisposition of children to speak] works successfully only when it is stimulated at the right time, a time called critical period.
age of arrival
The age at which an L2 learner became part of the L2 community.
metacognitive learning strategies
Higher order executive skills that involve planning, monitoring and evaluating of the language learning process and production
cognitive learning strategies
Manipulation or transformation of learning materials or tasks in order to enhance comprehension. Examples include practicing, analyzing, reasoning, or reorganizing information.
learner preferences (group/individual)
More introvert learners want to work alone, so that internalize the language and the mechanism of it.

More extrovert learners prefer to work in group and interact with other students. Research does not indicate that one learning style is better than the other.
Likert-type statements
Statements Ss respond to on a scale of 1-5. Self reporting data.

Ex. In as Ss reading attitude survey
I love going to the bookstores just to browse.
I strongly disagree <> I strongly agree.
Reflective learners take time to mull things over

Impulsive learners tend to make quick guesses

These learning styles can be tied to cultural values.
aural (auditory)/visual/kinesthetic
·Aural (auditory) learners prefer instruction through listening.
·Visual learners prefer presentation through written text, pictures, film, etc.
·Kinesthetic learners do best when physically moving as they learn.
·Analytic learners are data gatherers who break down language into details (e.g., grammatical rules) before experimenting with language. They tend to be field dependent.
·Gestalt (global) learners are comparatively holistic and experiment more freely with language without learning details (e.g., using chunks of language without a full grasp of their internal structure). They tend to be field independent.
tolerance of ambiguity
A trait of good language learners, the ability to negotiate meaning without knowledge of all the unknown details
left brain/right brain preference
·Prefer a systematic, sequential, logical approach
·Their strength is in figuring out language rules and applying them analytically.

·Look for patterns and use intuition more when solving problems
·Are strong in looking at the whole, integrated picture (e.g., body language) to figure out meaning without understanding all the parts.
A framework of knowledge acquired from past experience. In language acquisition, teachers take advantage of students’ background knowledge (invoke schema) to aid in pre-reading or listening.
top down/bottom up
Top-down: an inductive approach, working from the whole before the parts--typical of gestalt or right brain learners
Bottom-up: a deductive approach, working from parts to the whole--typical of analytic or left brain learners
variables influencing self-report studies
Self-report tests (self-assessments) have a liberal margin for error. Learning styles are tendencies and not fixed characteristics. Scores on a self-report test can be influenced by mood or how you want to be perceived
brain plasticity
The “flexibility” of the brain during the critical period in forming neural connections. According to CPH, plasticity is limited after the critical period.
brain lateralization
During the sensitive period, the brain assigns specific functions (like language) to different hemispheres. CPH argues that after the critical period, the brain cannot “re-assign” its language functions to allow for SLA.
sensitive period (same as critical period)
Lenneberg argued that if the language acquisition device isn’t stimulated during the right time (the critical period), it will not work successfully
developmental errors (overgeneralization, simplification errors)
Errors that could also be made by children acquiring their L1 (e.g., overgeneralization: He goed to school and simplification errors: She play with me)

These errors supported Chomsky’s proposal that acquisition was rule formation and not habit, as they are not errors from L1 interference.
Termed by Selinker, IL is the learner’s developing second language knowledge. It contains elements from the L1 and L2, but also elements from neither. It’s systematic but also dynamic.
free variation
Nonsystematic variation in the IL, variation that can’t be explained by linguistic or contextual factors (e.g., a learner who sometimes correctly and sometimes incorrectly uses a structure)
systematic variation
Variation in the IL that is related to linguistic or contextual factors. Most variation in the IL is believed to be systematic, as it can be accounted to transfer from the L1, context, etc.
IL patterns that don’t seem to change despite extended exposure/instruction to the TL
attention to form
(Note: not to be mistaken with focus on form) In examining variation in interlanguage, Tarone concluded that communicative pressure resulted in greater accuracy than “attention to form” (i.e., how conscientious the speakers were about using a particular structure accurately)
the role of interaction in the language acquisition process
When speakers modify their speech to match the learners’ communication requirements, learners have opportunities to engage in conversation. This interaction results in language acquisition
form-focused instruction
Instruction which draws attention to the forms/structures of language within context of communicative interaction. (e.g., giving metalinguistic info, highlighting the form, providing corrective feedback)