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What Makes Second Language Learning So Difficult?



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What Makes Second Language Learning So Difficult Natasha Tokowicz Difficulties in Adult Second Language Learning A lot of information to learn Embarrassment at speaking language Differences between the new language and your native language e g The Competition Model MacWhinney Bates 1989 So Why Learn Another Language So Why Learn Another Language QuickTime and a decompressor are needed to see this picture So Why Learn Another Language Communicate with people of different language backgrounds Especially an important message Identify with another group Learn about another culture Learn more about your own language What factors make adult second language learning difficult Exp 1 Meaning differences across languages Multiple translations more than one way to say something Exp 2 Syntactic differences across languages Grammatical constructions that differ Experiment in progress ERP techniques Current Knowledge Both Helps and Hurts Adult second language learners Full set of concepts Full set of labels for these concepts Full grammatical system Full system for contrasting sounds Sometimes these will transfer appropriately E g same or similar labels cognates e g color color Mismatches between languages create problems Connecting Meanings to Labels Initially concepts are strongly connected to L1 words Eventually concepts must get connected to L2 words for comprehension or production Two Labels for the Same Meaning Most models assume the concepts activated by the two languages are the same Exception Distributed Feature Model Word concreteness cat health Cognate status of translation pair color color house casa Conceptual Salience High conceptual salience Low conceptual salience Distributed Feature Model De Groot 1992 L1 Concrete Words Cognate Translations L2 lexical word level conceptual meaning level L1 Abstract Words Noncognate Translations L2 lexical word level conceptual meaning level L1 First Language L2 Second Language Why Else Meanings May Differ Different lexical



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