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Report Title:

NEUROFUNCTIONAL THEORY OF SECOND LANGUAGE ACQUISITION


Contents: Proponent Definition Understanding the theory Issues Researches and practical applications References

Reporters: Liza Gay P. Parantac Christine L. Tibig

I. Proponent:

Lamendella (1979)
II. Definition: states that the acquisition of second and foreign languages is mainly the product of neural (brain-based) processes considers the involvement of the right and left hemispheres of the brain to be firmly related to comprehension and production of language Lamendella (1979:5/6) defines, A neurofunctional perspective on language that attempts to characterize the neurolinguistic information processing systems responsible for the development and use of language. Hacth (1983a: 213) puts it, 'there is no single black box for language in the brain'.

III. Understanding the theory: Neurofunctional theory considers the involvement of the right and left hemispheres of the brain to be firmly related to comprehension and production of language. It also accounts for age differences, formulaic speech, fossilization, and pattern practice in second language acquisition. The neurofunctional explanation of SLA has considered the contribution of two areas of the brain: right hemisphere - associated with holistic processing - storing and processing formulaic speech and its constituents, namely routines and patterns - involved in patterned practice in classroom SLA since arranges them for later left hemisphere examination It is also believed (Ellis 1985) that the right hemisphere participation in second language acquisition will most likely occur in the early stages of acquisition, as this is the time of intensified use of formulaic speech. left hemisphere - associated with creative language use - syntactic and semantic processing - motor operations involved in speaking and writing The left hemisphere is in charge of analytic processing, and creative language use with both semantic and syntactic examining, characteristic of speaking and writing.

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2 basic types of language acquisition: Primary language acquisition - found in the child's acquisition of one or more languages from ages 2 to 5

Secondary language acquisition - subdivided into a. foreign language learning (classroom L2 learning) b. second language learning(natural acquisition of an L2 over the age of 5)

Each type of language acquisition possesses different neurofunctional systems, which, in turn, hold a variety of functions and contribute to information processing in a number of ways two systems for language functioning: Communicative hierarchy - responsible for language and other types of interpersonal communication - The communication hierarchy occurs in primary language acquisition and second language acquisition. Cognitive hierarchy - regulates the array of cognitive information processing activities Cognitive hierarchy, on the other hand, is present in foreign language learning. Foreign language acquisition is marked by the use of the input and also affects the operation of learner strategies. Input comprises the inherent properties of the target language system and the formally and interactionally adjusted features found in foreigner and teacher talk.

Each of the above systems may be further subdivided into high- and low-level systems (Ellis 1985). By the use of high-level system, the acquired second language forms may be accumulated as sub-routines at lower level of the communication hierarchy. When it comes to performance, lower-level sub-routines may be approached without referring to higher levels within the same hierarchy.

IV. Issues: What the theory states: - neural systems specific to language are to some extent innate and genetically programmed What critics say: - the perspective is not exclusive for language learning, but an attempt to formulate more global theory for human capacity to learn

This theory claims that PLA and (b) is marked through use of the communication hierarchy while (a) is marked by the use of the cognitive hierarchy only. If we are to accept the existence of some innate and subconscious linguistic properties, which is what the nativists have claimed, we then have the right to ask the question of why (a) is treated only as a cognitive process.

The difference between this view and a nativist theory lies in the assumption that there is no single black box (like the LAD assumed by Chomsky and his followers) for language in the brain. It is hardly possible to identify precisely which areas of the brain are associated with language acquisition. Neurofunctional accounts of SLA recognize the contribution of both the left and the right hemispheres of the brain. There has been the hypothesis that the right hemisphere is associated with formulaic speech, the left hemisphere is associated with creative language use, including analytic processing. There have also been suggestions that different levels of language processing (pronunciation VS. grammar, for example) are completed by different neural mechanisms. The evidence is the fact that learners may be native-like in grammar but not in pronunciation. These hypotheses or suggestions await verification. V. Related researches and practical applications: Experimentation has shown that the two different sides, or hemispheres, of the brain are responsible for different manners of thinking. The following table illustrates the differences between left-brain and right-brain thinking:

Most individuals have a distinct preference for one of these styles of thinking. Some, however, are more whole-brained and equally adept at both modes. In general, schools tend to favor left-brain modes of thinking, while downplaying the right-brain ones. Left-brain scholastic subjects focus on logical thinking, analysis, and accuracy.Right-brained subjects, on the other hand, focus on aesthetics, feeling, and creativity. How Right-Brain vs. Left-Brain Thinking Impacts Learning CurriculumIn order to be more whole-brained in their orientation, schools need to give equal weight to the arts, creativity, and the skills of imagination and synthesis. InstructionTo foster a more whole-brained scholastic experience, teachers should use instruction techniques that connect with both sides of the brain. They can increase their classrooms right-brain learning activities by incorporating more patterning, metaphors, analogies, role playing, visuals, and movement into their reading, calculation, and analytical activities. AssessmentFor a more accurate whole-brained evaluation of student learning, educators must develop new forms of assessment that honor right-brained talents and skills.

VI References: Bernice McCarthy, The 4-MAT System: Teaching to Learning Styles with Right/Left Mode Techniques. Retrieved November 24, 2012 from http://www.funderstanding.com/brain/right-brain-vs-left-brain/ Natalia Fabisz. Analysis of Krashen's Theory of Second Language Acquisition. Retrieved November 29, 2012 from htp://webspace.webring.com/people/ap/panandrew/sla.htm Vedat Kiymazarslan. January 18, 20122. A Discussion of Language Acquisition Theories. Retrieved November 29, 2012. From

http://webspace.webring.com/people/ap/panandrew/sla.htmhttp://www.enotes.com/linguis tics/q-and-a/discuss-detail-lamendellas-neurofunctional-theory-368721

Baars, B.J. 1997. In the theater of consciousness. New York: Oxford University Press. Fasold, R.W & Linton, J.C. (editors). 2006. An Introduction to Language and Linguistics. New York. Cambridge University Press. Caroll, D.W. 2008. Psychology of Language. Canada Thomson Wadsworth.