Providing Input for Acquisition

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Providing input related to “input hypothesis” especially on role and potential input on second language classroom. Input hypothesis stated that to acquire language, a child/ acquirer need certain input can be understood / understanding input called “language perception” in installment manner. In acquiring L2 means they are develop their language (i+1). Language input means acquiring language by understanding language. Input of language from read (reading), hear (listening). Whereas, Output of language is utterance/ speech/ conversation (speaking), and written (writing).

In this discussion we will explain about: 1) The role of output, 2) What is character of “good input” or Optimal input in language acquisition, 3) Other feature encourage acquisition, and 4) “teaching” conversational competences.

We need the potential of second language acquisition, environment is one of potential input will support language acquisition. If acquirer acquire language in the class and then their environment also use the L2, it will help them acquire faster. For instance student from central java who goes to school in Jakarta and live in the city will acquire language faster because they must use the language in social live.

It will different from who Javanese students who goes to school in java, they only use the language in the class not in daily language. It is called “Limitation of classroom”. They seldom or never acquire language from outside.

1. The role of output

Output in language (speech/ utterance/ conversation) has indirect role in language acquisition, it will affect the quantity of input to acquirer partner/ receiver and it also help acquirer to understand a number of language mistake like accent, pronoun, phrase, etc. Finally will help to achieve language competence, comprehension, and fluency.

In language acquisition input and output can’t be separated because if an acquirer can produce output / perform to speak means they have language comprehension of the input. Then acquirer produce the output, it will in the input for acquirer it self and other receivers. It is sustain process of acquiring language.

The role of language as follows:
a. Conversation and language acquisition : Participation in conversation is responsible for LA. Because it is very good ways of input, then output is result of acquired competence. When performer speak, they encourage input (invite people speak the performer). It is a conversation.

b. Output and learning : Output help language learning because output provide kind of error correction. The correction will supposed learner to change mental representation of language.

2. Characteristic of optimal input for acquisition

A number of characteristic optimal input try to find any activity / material that use to subconscious language acquisition. In order to acquire language as fast as possible. The kinds of characteristics as follows: To purpose is to avoid zero acquisition or very little acquisition. Here a number of characteristic input which different aspect of method, material, and informal input.

a. Optimal input is comprehensible : if the acquirer don’t understand of message which delivered by sender it means that there no acquisition or incomprehensible or noise. Success input means receiver understand the language which conveyed by sender / be able to comprehension. Comprehension is not sufficient to acquire language even the comprehensibility is fundamental and necessary unless if the acquirer closely the 2nd language. For instance hear radio, watch TV in monologue English, the hearer only comprehension but it is noise. Therefore to aid comprehension is teacher can aid learner comprehension both linguistic and non-linguistic aspect especially make speech comprehensible.
  • Slower rate and clearer articulation in order to identify word easily and allow more processing time
  • Use high vocabulary, less slang, fewer idioms
  • Use shorter sentences and simple syntax/ structure

b. Optimal input is interesting and/or relevant : If the teacher can deliver the material or acquisition interesting, the acquirer may forget the process. Remember that optimal input focus on message nor on form. Therefore interesting topic is relevance/ interest topic widely perceived for all acquirer because each people have different goal, interest, background Ex: mooring activity, holiday, etc. The teacher have to avoid uninteresting and irrelevant topic.

c. Optimal input is not grammatically sequenced : Optimal input don’t pay more attention on grammar. It can be said comprehensible if acquirer understand the meaning. The reasons why grammatical sequenced is not an optimal input are:
  • Everyone will has assumption or same developmental stage if the lesson about one structure.
  • Focus on grammatical will reduce the quality of comprehension input and change the communication
  • Grammatical sequence hamper of acquisition.

d. Optimal input must be in sufficient quantity : To determine how much comprehension is needed to achieve second language proficiency is difficult. But the hypothesis for all student can be seen at 2 condition:
  • The input was not artificially constrained
  • Supplied in sufficient quantity. Sufficient quantity consist of 2 types: 1) Quantity requirements for initial readiness to speak, Based on Asher’s work said that if student can obey a certain command in psychical response. 2) Quantity requirements for higher levels of proficiency, amount of filter necessary certain requirement for  adult thus they are have considered acquire the language for deep and advanced understanding.

3. Other features that encourage acquisition

The student should not be put on the defensive : defense means should not test a student with certain method and material to know their abilities. I should tend to help the students.

Provide tools to help students obtain more input : It need linguistic competence input to begin on informal environment. It need more non classroom practice. They will make mistake because loss of words for instance talk with native speaker.

4. “teaching” conversational competence

Conversational competence will gives student the tools they need to manage conversation, and as an essential part of instruction, since it helps to insure that language acquisition will take place outside the class, and after they instructional program ends. Our responsibility does not end with the completion of the semester. The purpose of language instruction is to provide students with what they need so that they can progress without us or becoming an independent learner.

Read: Routine and Pattern in Language Acquisition and Performance

Kharsen, Stephen D. 2002. Second Language Acquisition and Second Language Learning. University of Southern California.

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Second Lenguage Acquisition

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