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Rudolph, J.: Handbuch der Englischen Wirtschaftssprache. Berlin/München: Langenscheidt
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Schnädter, H. : „Zur Rolle der Fachsprachen in den Lehrplänen für Englisch und Franzö-
sisch in der gymnasialen Oberstufe". Die Neueren Sprachen 87 (1988): 122-148.

Spiegel, H.-R. : „Fachsprachenforschung und Terminologiearbeit - ein Bericht". Die Neue- ren Sprachen 87 (1988) :7691. Weller, F.-R. : „Fremdsprachlicher Fachsprachenunterricht - Fachsprachlicher Fremdspra- chenunterricht. Vorbemerkungen zu einem Themenheft". Die Neueren Sprachen 87

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Die Neueren Sprachen 89:3 (1990): 2W278 Wolfgang Butzkamm Five Hypotheses about Language Learning and Teaching
Die Neueren Sprachen 89:3 (1990): 2W278
Wolfgang Butzkamm
Five Hypotheses about Language Learning and Teaching
Five hypotheses are posited to explain how foreign languages are acquired and successfully taught: 1.
Five hypotheses are posited to explain how foreign languages are acquired and successfully
taught: 1. the language-intuition hypothesis; 2. the dialogue hypothesis, meant to replace
the input hypothesis; 3. the exploration-of-patterns hypothesis; 4. the preferred language
hypothesis; 5. the short-circuiting hypothesis, meant to replace the monitor hypothesis.
The cumulative evidence of the history of foreign language teaching and modern acquisition
research converge so that long-standing methodological issues can be solved.
Die Sprachlehrmethodik muß sich heute als Teil einer sich schon in Ansätzen abzeichnenden
integrierten Enverbstheorie begreifen, die alle Erwerbssituationen umfaßt. Aus der
Geschichte des Fremdsprachenunterrichts sowie aus modernen Untersuchungen zum natür-
lichen Sprachenverb ergeben sich fünf Thesen, die insbesondere erfolgreichen Fremdspra-
chenunterricht erklären: 1. Menschen verfügen (als Teil ihres ratiomorphen Apparats) über
eine intuitive Fähigkeit, sprachliche Regelungen zu erschließen. 2. Diese Fähigkeit kommt
am besten durch sinnvolles Kommunizieren ins Spiel, also im Gespräch, in dem sich, eher
noch als durch bloßen verständigen Zuspruch, Verstehen herstellt. 3. Halb spielend, halb
übend erprobt der Lernende sprachliche Fügungsweisen und erfahrt dabei die generative
Kraft der Sprache. 4. Die jeweilige Hauptsprache - oder die zeit- und gebietsweise präsentere
Sprache - kann als Vermittlungsinstanz für die andere Sprache agieren. 5. Im Unterricht
können vermittelnde Hilfskonstruktionen verschiedener Art eingesetzt werden, solange sie
durch natürliche Sprachvenvendung wieder weggeübt werden und sich damit Gedanke
und Ausdruck kurzschließen.

!

1 The dream of a natural method
1 The dream of a natural method
The theory propounded in this paper rests on two pillars. One is the history of
The theory propounded in this paper rests on two pillars. One is the history
of foreign language teaching, made up of the efforts, over the centuries,
of countless language teachers to find effective ways of teaching and to
understand what was happening in their classrooms. It is, in sum, the cumula-
tive body of experience, reflections and research that come under the heading
of foreign language teaching pedagogy.
The other pillar is constituted by modern research on natural first and
second language acquisition. Over the past decades linguists and psycholo-
gists have created a steadily increasing body of research on both the natural
acquisition of first as well as of additional languages. The growing concern
with the problems, needs and rights of immigrants and other minorities which
in the past had all too often been overlooked by the school System generated
fresh insights into language teaching problems. Research as well as practical
experience with informal learning outside school is now making its impact
on traditional foreign language teaching philosophies.
For the first time in history, then, the long-cherished dream of teaching
"according to nature" might come true: a substantial knowledge of how
humans acquire a first and second language naturally has been made avail-
able.
Of course, we never seem to know enough. The business of language
acquisition is intimately connected with the basic question of how the mind
works. The more we know here, the more we are aware how little we know
yet. However, we are not concerned with ultimate truths but the practical
matter of effective teaching techniques. These, we have had in the past and
have them now. What we have lacked, however, is a theory to clearly identify
them in the mass of competing techniques and to differentiate the contexts
in which those teaching activities would succeed or fail.
It is my contention that we have reached a Stage where we can take a
forward step by combining the two Strands of foreign language teaching
tradition and natural acquisition research.
2 The language-intuition hypothesis
This hypothesis is, of course, fundamental. It has frequently been discussed
by other authors, using a different terminology. It simply states that in infor-
mal acquisition Situations - and to a lesser extent also in formal instruction
- we crack the linguistic code not through the powers of our conscious
intellect, nor by being told the rules, but by some inner knowledge-pro-
gramme of which we are not aware. Life abounds in such knowledge Systems;
it can itself be Seen as an information processing apparatus. Even a simple
single-celled organism, primitive as it is, could not exist without gathering
some information from its environment (Lorenz 1973).
Take the perception of colours - in humans or other beings. Colours are not just
Take the perception of colours - in humans or other beings. Colours are
not just "out there". They are constructed and computed on the basis of
physical data. How colourful the world is, or if it is colourful at all, depends
on the internal programmes of each species. It is only in this century that
science is deciphering our colour producing mechanisms.
Just as perceiving is the result of our imposing hypotheses on the incoming
information, so is language acquisition dependent on internal programmes
to unravel the mysteries of syntax and morphology. How else can we under-
stand the fact that we apply rules without knowing them? This is the miracle
of language: we learn to handle something skillfully which is normally far
beyond our intellectual capacity to understand. In analyzing perception, the
cognitive psychologist Egon Brunsvik (1934) posited "ratiomorphic", as
opposed to rational faculties. L1 acquisition owes much more to the ratio-
morphic than it does to the rational faculties of the mind. However, questions
concerning the extent and the language-specificity of underlying ratiomorphic
acquisition systems are far from resolved.
Consider an engineer who designs and constructs a new engine. He can
labe1 every part of it, knows why it is there and how it works. There is
no mystery in this. At the Same time, in speaking, he constructs sentences,
simple and complex ones. Yet he is to a large extent ignorant of the rules
he applies when building his sentences and would have difficulties in correctly
identifying their constituents. This cannot be explained away by assuming
that he knew the rules once and now uses them "automatically". We do
not know the rules, but something inside us - here called language intuition
- does. In this respect, speaking resembles our perception of shapes, colours,
thirst or cold etc. : normally, we have no idea of the manifold inner computing
processes that bring about these reactions and activities.
3 ' The dialogue hypothesis vs. the input hypothesis
Our language intuition Comes into play only if we Start cornrnunicating.
It cannot function in a linguistic and semantic void. Communication pre-
cedes, and leads into, language. We can only acquire language because we
have already learnt how to communicate. Later on, grammar develops out
of actual language use.
This has been vividly documented by Bruner's experiments at Oxford where
he studied the transition from prelinguistic to linguistic communication in
the interactions of mothers with their babies (Bruner 1983). In highly routin-
ized day-to-day interactions mothers know how to create a communicative
"scaffold" to Support the acquisition of language. Since the child is thor-
oughly familiar with the constantly recurring Situations of play, nursing,
feeding etc., he learns to understand what his mother intends to do and
expects of him, and is then able to transfer this knowledge onto the concomi-

+

I

6

tant language that his mother provides him with at the Same time. Thus mothers succeed
tant language that his mother provides him with at the Same time. Thus
mothers succeed in getting something done partly with words - such as
the handing over of a toy - which before had to be managed without the
help of words. Learning how to mean with words is an extension of what
the child can already do. He understands the pul1 of the situation and applies
the child can already do. He understands the pul1 of the situation and applies
this situational/functional understanding to the words. Because he can make sense of what people do,
this situational/functional understanding to the words. Because he can make
sense of what people do, he can make sense of language. Later, when he
already has some language, his direct understanding of utterance parts com-
bined with a grasp of the situation will significantly contribute to acquire
even more language.
Recurring situational-functional meanings which the child can interpret
with the mother's
assistance provide basic categorization devices for the map-
ping of linguistic forms. Grammar springs from the logic of action and the
child's knowledge of the world. An obvious example is the recognition of
Singular and plural, where his knowledge of the world alerts the child to
look for similar distinctions in the linguistic forms. Likewise, semantic-syn-
tactic relations which appear in the two-word Stage such as possessor -
possessed (Daddy car), actor - action (Daddy sleeping) and action - object
(bring book) are a direct outcome of the child's growing experience in acting
on the world. Semantics precedes, and leads into, syntax.
Meaningful communication, however, is a necessary, not a sufficient condi-
tion for the acquisition of more complicated syntactical constraints. Gram-
mar, as Bruner (1984:169) readily concedes, "constitutes its own problem
space". This is why we postulate internal processing devices specially geared
to the acquisition of grammar.
Krashen (1981 ; 1982) reduces
the role of communication to comprehen-
sion. For him, comprehensible input is the Single most important factor
in language learning. The crucial dimension for the acquisition of grammar
is exposure to language that is understood. While acknowledging that com-
prehension is the essential prerequisite for the learner to unravel the language
System, we reject the term "input hypothesis", because it seems to imply
that output is negligible. This is misleading in as much as it is the active
participation of the learner which contributes decisively to comprehension.
This latter view is more in consonance with evolutionary theory, which Sees
the organism as an active problem solver. It is, of Course, the parent who
at first carries the linguistic responsibility, who tries to follow the child's
train of thought, pick up whatever clues the child has given and re-direct
attention to a joint focus. However, comprehension, the relating of linguistic
forms to the world and to what we Want to achieve in it, is the result of
concerted action.
Consequently, it is only by examining dialogue - instead of describing
mere input - that we can understand how children develop their language.
Here is an example of a two-year-old child talking with her father while
looking at a picture book:
Gisa: Wurst aufagessen.
Gisa:
Wurst aufagessen.

Father: Ja, der Hund hat die Wurst aufgegessen. Und jetzt, was macht der Mann jetzt?

Stock in der Hand. -
Stock in der Hand. -

Gisa: Wiedaholen, Wurst. Father: Ja, der läuft hinter dem Hund her und hat'n Was will er denn mit dem Stock machen? Gisa: Hauen.

Was will er denn mit dem Stock machen? Gisa: Hauen. Father: Wen will er denn hauen?
Father: Wen will er denn hauen? Gisa: Hund. Father: Aha. Gisa: Hund hauen. Father :
Father:
Wen will er denn hauen?
Gisa: Hund.
Father: Aha.
Gisa: Hund hauen.
Father : Warum denn?
Gisa: Mit'm Tock.
Father: Warum will er den Hund denn hauen?
Gisa: Mit'm Tock.
Father: Ah so, mit'm Stock. Gut.
Gisa is able to handle two-word utterances. However, in her second utterance, she reverts to
Gisa is able to handle two-word utterances. However, in her second utterance,
she reverts to two separate one- word-sentences, as the pause between wieda-
holen and Wurst and intonational contours indicate. Later On, prompted
by her father's questions, she produces another two-word sentence: Hund
hauen. It has been said that "vertical" constructions (in the printed version
of the dialogue the words appear below each other) develop into "horizon-
tal" ones (See Hatch 1978):
Hauen
Hund
Likewise, the vertical construction
Hund hauen
mit'm Tock
will later develop into a horizontal construction (a multiword sentence). All this happens in dialogue
will later develop into a horizontal construction (a multiword sentence). All
this happens in dialogue where the " collaborative construction of meaning"
takes place - as G. Wells, reporting on the Bristol Language Development
Study, puts it (Wells 1985:404). Notice also that the child obviously ignores
the why-question perhaps because she cannot yet "give reasons". The child
Sets her own Pace of development and the parents are happy to accept.
4 The principle of communication
4 The principle of communication
What does all this have to do with foreign language teaching? Consider the answer that
What does all this have to do with foreign language teaching?
Consider the answer that Roger Brown, one of the leading experts on
mother-tongue acquisition, gave to the question of how parents could facili-
tate their children's learning of language: "Believe that your child can under-
of language: "Believe that your child can under- stand more than he or she can say;
stand more than he or she can say; and seek, above all, to communicate. To
stand more than he or she can say; and seek, above all, to communicate.
To understand and be understood
If you concentrate on communicating,
everything else
will follow " (Brown 1979:26).
1
i
Compare likewise the advice Hatch gives to second-language leaners: "The
most important thing of all has to be 'don't give up'" (Hatch 1978:434),
in other words, keep the conversation going. Hatch assumes that second
language learning evolves out of learning how to do conversation. Clearly
we do not learn either a first nor a second language by first building up
a repertoire of words and structures, later to be put to use in discourse.
Though languages are acquired systematically, step by step, they are used
for communication from the very outset.
I believe that these findings have important implications for foreign lan-
guage teaching in classrooms, since they need not be artifically imposed
upon teaching methodology from outside but reinforce ideas that have been
there throughout the history of foreign language teaching. For instance, the
Latin schools of the Middle Ages could only emphasize grammar in the
actual lessons because "real" communication in Latin was taken for granted
or enforced by strict discipline: it was the only language allowed throughout
the day in and out of classrooms. In theory, learning by use has always
been a major feature of foreign language teaching. We teach through commu-
nication and communicate through teaching. After all, it is only common
sense and proverbial wisdom : Loqui loquendo discimur, or : A force de forger
on devient forgeron. This point, which is a basic law in the psychology
of skills, has been stressed again and again, See Eggert (1911) or Rivers
(1964: 104, 128).
In the practice of nineteenth- and twentieth-century schools where lan-
guages have to compete with a growing number of subjects, however, commu-
nication has too often been paid mere lip Service - as has been noted by
countless observers and evidenced in some empirical studies such as Mitchell
et al. (1981). Two reasons for this neglect concern the Special handicaps of
institutionalised teaching as compared with informal learning environments:
I. Limited timefactor. Time pressure may lead teachers to concern them-
selves too much with Student mastery of the language elements - at the
expense of communication.
2. Limited speaker factor. This is probably the severest handicap of class-
room teaching over against natural acquisition where normally one or more
mature speakers are available just for one learner. The reverse is true for
the classroom where one speaker is confronted with up to thirty or more
learners.
How can one simultaneously converse with thirty children every one of
which depends on you as the major model and source of language? This
is indeed a stiff job for any teacher. Nevertheless, language teachers have
developed a diversity of techniques to help them overcome the difficulties.
We cannot go into these techniques here. The principle of communication
implies that whatever else the teacher does, whether he makes skillful use of the mother
implies that whatever else the teacher does, whether he makes skillful use
of the mother tongue or not, whether he explains a grammatical point or
chooses to ignore it etc., he must make Sure that in every lesson there are
opportunities for his children to use the new language as a tool for something
other than language, as a means of achieving something else and not as
an end in itself (Butzkamm/Dodson 1980).
What Counts is meaningful communication, and, by implication, compre-
hension. There is no virtue as such in guessing or in slow and laborious
efforts to understand. Rather, the effort of cracking the linguistic code comes
after the utterance has been understood.
5 The exploration-of-patternshypothesis and the communicative fallacy
5 The exploration-of-patternshypothesis and the communicative fallacy
5.1 Transparentstructures
5.1 Transparentstructures
So all we need is communication, and our language intuition will take care of the
So all we need is communication, and our language intuition will take care
of the rest? While insisting on the primary importance of real language
use, we claim that communication is not the whole answer, even in first
language acquisition. Consciously, parents may be exclusively concerned with
getting across comprehensible messages, but they achieve more: "The
mother's input and feedback is so adapted in its temporal and structural
relations to filial speech that it exhibits the analytic, pattern-abstracting,
word-class defining, and synthetic features that are needed to help the child
analyze the regularities underlying the strings of sounds she hears", writes
Moerk (1985 :265) on the basis of a re-analysis of the parent-child interactions
recorded by Brown. In other words, in the mother-child dialogue children
are not only helped to understand messages, but to understand structures
as well.
This important distinction, i.e. the double nature of comprehension, has
been obscured by Krashen's terminology. In order for acquisition to take
place, mere situational or context-bound comprehension is not enough. We
must also get transparent syntactic data to work On.
I will use an example from a beginners' class. The teacher frequently used
the expression " stop talking". The children understood the message all right.
However, when I asked them after the lesson what it meant, I got answers
such as ,,Ruhe bitte", ,,leise bittecL,„ihr sollt nicht so laut sein". In spite
of the similarity between English stop and German stoppen they had not
yet analyzed the construction in its constituent parts. But only if they are
able to break the expression down to its parts, they can be expected to
use it creatively for new expressions such as stop eating or stop working.
Learners need to understand the language that is addressed to them both
in situational/functional terms and in structural terms.
Likewise, tourists Start communicating using formulas such as bonjour,
merci, s'il vous plait. However, nothing much is gained if they keep using
plait. However, nothing much is gained if they keep using only unanalysed amalgams. Rote learning has
only unanalysed amalgams. Rote learning has to be followed by rule learning. Only through a
only unanalysed amalgams. Rote learning has to be followed by rule learning.
Only through a process of detecting Patterns in the input language, forming
hypotheses based on these about how the language works, testing and revising
them, can they acquire the language. Thus, a formula like s'il vous plait,
understood both functionally and structurally, can lead to a host of familiar
and novel utterances such as s'il te plait, s'il leur plait ou non, s'il ne te
plait Pas.
5.2 Verbal play or practice: experiments 6th grammar
5.2 Verbal play or practice: experiments 6th grammar
This fact has been overlooked by all those who have been content with stressing the
This fact has been overlooked by all those who have been content with
stressing the paramount importance of meaningful communication, leaving
it to our intuitive powers to work their magic. While admitting that genuine
communication is the first thing to aim for, we reject the idea that nothing
but communication is called for (the communicative fallacy). A closer look
at what happens in the parent-child dialogue will reveal that the child is
helped in many ways in the task of inducing the subconscious assimilation
of the rule. Both monolingual and bilingual children have been observed
to indulge freely in what comes quite close to Pattern practice. It would
perhaps be more appropriate to speak here of verbal play rather than verbal
practice. New, emerging skills are practised by play activity, active repetition
and variation contributing to the development and consolidation of a skill.
Just as children manipulate objects to find out what they can do with them,
so they play around with language. Language is, then, not only a means
of communication and expression, but itself the object of exploratory interest.
The reader may remember the often quoted pre-sleep monologues that
Ruth Weir (1962: 111) recorded of her two-and-a-half year old son Anthony
over a period of two months. John Holt (1970: 71 f.) has made similar obser-
vations about two-and-a-half-year-old Lisa: "Much of her talk might be
called experiments with grammar, that is exercises in putting together words
in the way that people around her put them together. She makes word pat-
terns, sentences, that sound like the sentences she hears. What do they mean?
Often they may not mean anything, and are not meant to mean anything.
One
morning at breakfast she began to say, 'Pass the sugar. Pass the
pepper. Pass the toast. Pass the jam'. At first we passed them along. I noticed
after a while that she did not use them. Often she had no use for them;
what she asked for had nothing to do with what was on her plate. She
would ask for milk when she already had some, or for sugar when there
was nothing to put it On".
As children play around with language, they play around with their own
thinking. Thus it may well be argued that their verbal play fulfills an imagna-
tive speech function (Corder 1973:112). It could also be Seen as a process
of "assimilation" in Piaget's sense of the term, because in playing with words
and ideas the child assimilates the world outside to his linguistic structures
of the term, because in playing with words and ideas the child assimilates the world outside
of the term, because in playing with words and ideas the child assimilates the world outside
of the term, because in playing with words and ideas the child assimilates the world outside
of the term, because in playing with words and ideas the child assimilates the world outside
of the term, because in playing with words and ideas the child assimilates the world outside
of the term, because in playing with words and ideas the child assimilates the world outside
of the term, because in playing with words and ideas the child assimilates the world outside
of the term, because in playing with words and ideas the child assimilates the world outside
of the term, because in playing with words and ideas the child assimilates the world outside
and incorporates (symbolically represented) reality into the structure of his mind.
and incorporates (symbolically represented) reality into the structure of his
mind.
5.3 Bilingual play and practice
5.3 Bilingual play and practice
When we turn to bilingual children, the practice-function and explorative character of children's monologues may
When we turn to bilingual children, the practice-function and explorative
character of children's monologues may become even more obvious. It seems
that the child needs "dummy runs" where he is freed from the pressures
of genuine communication. Leopold reports how Hildegard said a word
several times in succession, half-loud to herself, and adds: "She is now inter-
ested in correctness of pronunciation and practices often, sometimes asking:
'(is) that right?'" (Leopold 1949:32). Dodson reports on the language behav-
iour of incipient Welsh-English bilinguals in nursery school: "The child imi-
tates and repeats the second-language sound chains when he is playing by
himself. It seems that the actual activity with other children or adults does
not allow the child a large enough number of speaking and listening contacts
to consolidate the language sufficiently
It is during this ' practicing' that
the second-language learner also permutates vocabulary and sentence ele-
ments as well as extends and adds together clauses For example, permuta-
tion work is involved when the young second language learner, whilst playing
with a series of toys, says to himself or turns to a by-stander with, 'That's
mine' - 'that's Daddy's' - 'that's Mummy's', etc., and the whole activity
becomes a sort of language game" (Dodson 1976, p. 7).
If older learners have not been observed to engage in language play, this
may very well be because they simply practice subvocally, thus replacing
the younger bilinguals' naive overt behaviour.
To sum up, the non-communicative use of language in natural acquisition
situations seems to serve three functions mainly :
1. Mere repetition of words and expressions: auditory and articulatory
consolidation.
2. Permutation of elements, sentence variations and extensions: experi- ments with structures. The child recognizes
2. Permutation of elements, sentence variations and extensions: experi-
ments with structures. The child recognizes and explores productive patterns
and moves away from prototypical model instances (provided in the parent
- child dialogue) that probably triggered off the process of pattern recognition
in the first place to less salient, less clear examples. (For the application
of Prototype theory to the acquisition of grammar See Berman 1985).
3. (Bilinguals only) Comparing and contrasting words and structures of
two languages: contrastive analysis provided by the learner himself to clear
the path for the new language (see Dodson 1985).
These findings can be Seen as a vindication of standard teaching tech-
niqueslmaterials: 1. the use of imitation and repetition; 2. language especially
contrived to assist functional and structural comprehension; 3. the exploita-
tion of productive sentence patterns based on the generative principle so
clearly set out by H. Palmer. However, in natural situations, both the mes-
by H. Palmer. However, in natural situations, both the mes- sage-oriented use of the language and
by H. Palmer. However, in natural situations, both the mes- sage-oriented use of the language and
by H. Palmer. However, in natural situations, both the mes- sage-oriented use of the language and
by H. Palmer. However, in natural situations, both the mes- sage-oriented use of the language and
by H. Palmer. However, in natural situations, both the mes- sage-oriented use of the language and
by H. Palmer. However, in natural situations, both the mes- sage-oriented use of the language and
by H. Palmer. However, in natural situations, both the mes- sage-oriented use of the language and
by H. Palmer. However, in natural situations, both the mes- sage-oriented use of the language and
sage-oriented use of the language and the non-communicative, medium-ori- ented verbal play involve the creative
sage-oriented use of the language and the non-communicative, medium-ori-
ented verbal play involve the creative use of language. I have suggested,
therefore, not to reject pattern drill, but to modify it and build it into a
communicative framework (Butzkamm 1989). A preoccupation with struc-
ture at the expense of meaning and purpose was and is fatal to language
teaching.
6 The preferred language hypothesis
6 The preferred language hypothesis
For children acquiring two languages concurrently, e.g. in linguistically mixed marriages a mother-tongue competes with
For children acquiring two languages concurrently, e.g. in linguistically mixed
marriages a mother-tongue competes with a father-tongue. In all situations,
one language will become dominant, especially if one of them is identical
with the language spoken outside the home. Dodson (1983) introduced the
term "preferred language" with a view to emphasizing the unstable nature
of bilingual proficiency. The young bilingual has a preferred language
(instead of a dominant or first language) and a second language for any
area of experience, domain or part-domain. "This applies even within the
area of a single concept, since the two languages are fused consecutively
rather than simultaneously into the development process relating to the acqui-
sition and the consolidation of the concept. The bilingual development of
the individual is not necessarily a one-way process, however, since although
for any area of experience for any given time the individual has a preferred
and a second language, the status of these languages may be reversed at
a later Stage depending on the frequency, intensity and quality of subsequent
interactions in either of the two languages relating to the area of experience
concerned " (Dodson 1983:5). Thus, " preferred " relates to ease of use and
does not denote a preference for, or desire to use one language rather than
the other.
What happens when the child has already successfully conceptualized and
verbalized a certain Part othis world in one language and is now expected
to express himself in his other language? What ways are Open for the child,
and what Course does he normally follow? This is what Kielhöfer & Jonekeit
(1983:57) observed with German-French bilinguals: ,,Es ist bei den Kindern
jedoch zu beachten, daß sie von sich aus versuchen, Wortschatzlücken in
bestimmten Bereichen einer Sprache auszufüllen. Wenn sie das französische
Wort zuerst kennen, fragen sie die Mutter: Comment Ga s'appelle en alle-
mand? Wenn die Mutter die Antwort nicht geben kann oder will, erkundigen
sie sich bei der nächsten Gelegenheit beim Vater. Da sie ihn nicht direkt
nach der Übersetzung fragen können (er kennt das französische Wort nicht),
versuchen sie eine Umschreibung mit das da, später Dings-da. Unter Umstän-
den ist das Dings-da am Fenster ein Blumentopf. Der Vater muß dann das
richtige Wort Blumentopf sagen. Oft murmeln sie dann für sich das schon
bekannte französische Äquivalent pot de fleur. Das heißt, sie suchen eine
Vokabelgleichung und bestätigen diese durch Wiederholung
."
Äquivalent pot de fleur. Das heißt, sie suchen eine Vokabelgleichung und bestätigen diese durch Wiederholung ."
Äquivalent pot de fleur. Das heißt, sie suchen eine Vokabelgleichung und bestätigen diese durch Wiederholung ."
Äquivalent pot de fleur. Das heißt, sie suchen eine Vokabelgleichung und bestätigen diese durch Wiederholung ."
The preferred-language-hypothesis, then, can be stated as follows: "The child will ask to be given
The preferred-language-hypothesis, then, can be stated as follows: "The child will ask to be given
The preferred-language-hypothesis, then, can be stated as follows: "The
child will ask to be given the meaning in his preferred language, of any
words or phrases in the second language event which he does not understand
fully, if at all. He does this during the event if his playmates are also bilingual,
or he waits until he has an opportunity after the event to ask other bilinguals
such as his parents. The language of the enquiry itself could be either of
his two languages'' (Dodson 1983:5).
There are basically two different Situations. In the first instance, the child
learns to labe1 an object or event for the first time and immediately inquires
after its equivalent: "She now asks the eternal what-question apparently
in the expectation of bilingual answers. She first asks her mother, then her
father for the name of the object" (Leopold 1949: 14). Here the child is
quite deliberately building up a bilingual lexicon. There seems to be a strong
curiosity motive behind this behaviour, and the sheer fun of articulating
and gaining mastery of an ever-extending world through language. Children
have even been observed practising bilingual word-pairs all by themselves
(Kielhöfer/Jonekeit 1983:66).
Roughly the Same happens when at this early Stage the child echoes a
new word he learns with the equivalent which is already available to him:
"Translating words from one language into the other is becoming a habit.
When I speak of an object in German, she repeats its name in English"
(Leopold 1949:11).
The first situation-type, then, is one in which the child asks for equivalents,
or supplies them himself, compares and contrasts them, and practises them.
There is no communicative need to obtain or mention the equivalent. The
child focuses on language. He wants to learn and finds pleasure in learning.
However, the enormous task of conceptualizing the world and verbalizing
one's concepts is more important than that of linguistically duplicating the
world. That is why the second type of situation where an equivalent is added
at a clearly later point in time becomes more frequent as the child develops
linguistically. Here is a definite communicative need. The child either does
not understand and seeks clarification, or searches for words to express him-
self :
clarification, or searches for words to express him- self : Frank (playing in sandpit, to fathe~):Ich

Frank (playing in sandpit, to fathe~):Ich habe mein CELLAR nicht fertig. Was ist CELLAR in Deutsch? Father : Keller

Frank: Mein Keller ist nicht fertig. (Saunders 1982:195)
Frank:
Mein Keller ist nicht fertig.
(Saunders 1982:195)
In some cases the parents deliberately avoided giving the equivalent and added further explanation instead.
In some cases the parents deliberately avoided giving the equivalent and
added further explanation instead. "Often she says then the more familiar
English equivalent to show that she has understood", writes Leopold
(1949: 146). There seems to be a genuine urge to associate the new with
the expression already available in the other language in order to ensure
full understanding. "The child's need to know the equivalent at any cost is Part of
full understanding. "The child's need to know the equivalent at any cost
is Part of his job of arranging the two languages. The meanings and functions
which prove to exist in both languages, thus enabling the child to make
comparisons, are reinforced " (Taeschner 1983:188).
To sum up: For the developing bilingual, young or old, the natural, and
also the most direct way out of a situation of non-comprehension or expres-
sive block in his second language is to ask for an equivalent of what he
has already labelled in his preferred language.
What are we to make, then, of the following teaching guideline, supposedly
based on second language acquisition research: "Do not refer to a student's
LI, when teaching the L2. The second language is a new and independent
language System. Since successful second language learners keep their lan-
guages distinct, teachers should, too ". (Dulay, Burt & Krashen 1982:269).
How odd that these researchers should have overlooked the ways in which
bilinguals use their preferred language, both to learn how to keep their two
languages apart and get on with the conversation in their second language.
Needless to say that the ovenvhelming evidence of history as well as modern
classroom experiments (Dodson 1967; Butzkamm 1980:143ff.) speak to the
efficacy of the mother tongue as a teaching aid. No doubt the most important
means to teach a foreign language is that language itself. However, the
mother-tongue can be made its most powerful ally.
7 The short-circuiting hypothesis vs. the monitor model
Krashen's (1982) acquisition - learning distinction and his monitor hypothe-
sis have been widely discussed (See especially Digeser 1983, Ellis 1986 and
McLaughlin 1987). I believe the objections raised by these authors are justi-
fied. They need not be repeated here.
One point has not yet been given proper emphasis, however. Krashen's
attempt to minimize the role of grammar in foreign language teaching
devalues the historical experience of countless generations of language teach-
ers. His concepts are not just counterintuitive to an ovenvhelming majority
of intelligent practitioners aware of the choices Open to them, they serenely
disregard the cumulative empirical evidence of the history of foreign language
teaching. Here, extremists of all sorts have had their say, and have failed.
Thus, what I have called the ,,kollektive praktische Vernunft" (Butzkamm
1981) has opted for the unavoidability of grammar in effective language
teaching.
Krashen's acquisition - learning distinction points to a basic polarity which
has appeared under many guises and in different contexts:
Fplicit knowledge vs. explicit knowledge
tacit knowledge vs. conscious knowledge
intuition vs. insight and analogy vs. analysis (Rivers 1964)
subconscious assimilation (Palmer) vs. consciousness raising (Sharwood-Smith
subconscious assimilation (Palmer) vs. consciousness raising (Sharwood-Smith

1981)

intuitive heuristics (Chomsky) vs. language awareness (Hawkins 1981) functional practice vs. formal practice the code
intuitive heuristics (Chomsky) vs. language awareness (Hawkins 1981)
functional practice vs. formal practice
the code - communication dilemma (Stern 1983)
focus on message vs. focus on form
fluency vs. accuracy
natural approaches vs. rational approaches (Howatt 1984)
Relevant distinctions borrowed from other disciplines:
incidental learning vs. intentional learning
knowing how vs. knowing that
ratiomorphic faculties vs. rational faculties (Lorenz 1973)
procedural knowledge vs. declarative knowledge.
While familiar with these terms, we tend to ignore earlier discussions of the problem couched
While familiar with these terms, we tend to ignore earlier discussions of
the problem couched in terms such as Roufine vs. VernuPlftschlüsse or usus
vs. doctrina etc.
In the end, the upshot of all this has been that while "we ought to learn
a language through sensible communications" (Jespersen 1904:1I), grammar
- explanations, paradigms, etc. - can, and should be a valuable teaching
aid. In the beginning of the century, foreign language pedagogy, turning
to the psychology of skills, borrowed the well-established construct of "men-
tal short-circuiting" (e.g. Patterson 1932) to explain how formal practice
and/or knowledge of rules turns into implicit knowledge and improves com-
municative performance. It is a pity that modern theorists should have
ignored older solutions to the problem and overlooked what I have called
the short-circuiting hypothesis (Butzkamm 1980; 1989). Conscious learning
is not only available as a monitor, or editor. Grammatical insights or mother
tongue equivalents, having served as an initial aid in acquisition, can be
short-circuited and fused with actual performance. If we accept this, we
can build gramrnatical props into a communicative approach. However,
thorny problems as to what grammatical knowledge can be a help to which
learner, when, and under which circumstances have still to be solved. We
must be aware of the constant da- of lapsing into language analysis and
formal practice at the expense of communication, instead of using both as
aids to make communication possible.

Conclusion

" It is not at all certain that at the present time there are any
" It is not at all certain that at the present time there are any clear implications
for language teaching to be drawn from the study of second language learn-
ing" (Hughes, quoted in Ellis 1986:242). Today I doubt whether such a
cautious view has its merits. It could be the view of the teacher unable
to cope with the bewildering variety of psycholinguistic theories, research
results, and methods, as it could be the psycholinguist's view himself who,
as it could be the psycholinguist's view himself who, while being aware of the many unsolved
as it could be the psycholinguist's view himself who, while being aware of the many unsolved
while being aware of the many unsolved problems concerning language and cognition, is largely ignorant
while being aware of the many unsolved problems concerning language and
cognition, is largely ignorant of foreign language teaching and its history.
Implications for language teaching? As if someone from outside could solve
our problems for us! Foreign language teaching is a discipline in its own
right, with a long history of past solutions to practical problems. It too,
has generated a bewildering wealth of teaching methods, techniques, and
ideas. However, research on natural and formal acquisition situations, on
language learning in or out of the classroom has reached a Stage where
various types of acquisition can mutually elucidate each other. Concerted
action will make a unified, consistent theory of language acquisition possible,
sufficiently elaborate to settle some of the major long-standing issues in
foreign language teaching.

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Helmut Meyer
Helmut Meyer
Spuren sichern - oder: Mit Kunst überleben
Spuren sichern - oder: Mit Kunst überleben
LiteraturdidaktischeErkundungenzum Stellenwertvon Leonardos,,Mona Lisa" in Ray Bradburys Short Story The Smile*
LiteraturdidaktischeErkundungenzum Stellenwertvon Leonardos,,Mona Lisa"
in Ray Bradburys Short Story The Smile*
Ray Bradbury's SF Short Story The Smile deals with a major event in the life
Ray Bradbury's SF Short Story The Smile deals with a major event in the life of a little
boy named Tom. In the Course of a so-called hate festival, organized by the anonymous
authorities in charge of a cheerless postnuclear world, he is unexpectedly confronted with
one of the half-forgotten remnants of civilization: Leonardo's 'Mona Lisa'. The beauty
of this picture and the ability of this object to recall the ancient charms and values of
the past from which it came create a whole complex of emotional responses in the little
boy which may perhaps be best described as epiphanies in the tradition of James Joyce.
" But she's BEAUTINL!" Tom says as he seizes a piece of canvas to save it from destruction.
Each of the six sections is followed by a plan that shows how the 'clues' leading up
to the epiphany and directly following it can be compiled, compared, and explained for
classroom-purposes. Thus, the pupils will not only experience Bradbury's special world,
"where dreams of tomorrow and memories of yesterday become parts of the Same fantasy "
(W.L. Johnson), but by following up various traces they will discover that the power
of beauty does not only lie within the object itself but also within the mind of the beholder.
Ray Bradburys Science Fiction - Kurzgeschichte The Smile befaßt sich mit einem Schlüssel- erlebnis im
Ray Bradburys Science Fiction - Kurzgeschichte The Smile befaßt sich mit einem Schlüssel-
erlebnis im Leben eines kleinen Jungen namems Tom. Im Verlaufe eines sogenannten „Haß-
Festivals", das von der anonymen Bürokratie einer trostlosen nach-nuklearen Welt organi-
siert wird, steht er überraschend einem der halbvergessenen Überbleibsel der alten Zivilisa-
tion gegenüber, der ,Mona Lisa' Leonardos. Die Schönheit dieses Bildes und seine Fähig-
keit, den alten Zauber und die Werte jener Vergangenheit, der es entstammt, zu neuem
Leben zu erwecken, setzen auch in dem kleinen Jungen emotionale Schübe frei, die sich
am ehesten in der Tradition von James Joyce als Augenblicke plötzlicher Erkenntnis und
Klarsicht beschreiben lassen. „Aber sie ist WUNDERSCH~N" sagt Tom, indem er nach einem
Leinwandfetzen greift, um ihn vor der Zerstörung zu retten. Jedem der sechs Abschnitte
ist eine Ablaufskizze angegliedert, die zeigt, wie Spuren und Verweise, die sich in der Vor-
und Rückschau zu diesem Schlüsselerlebnisverdichten, gesammelt, verglichen und zu Unter-
richtszwecken ausgedeutet werden können. So erfahren die Schüler nicht nur Bradburys
besondere Welt, ,,in der die Träume von morgen und die Erinnerungen von gestern zu
Bausteinen ein- und derselben phantastischen Erzählung werden" (W.L. Johnson); sie ent-
decken auch, indem sie den unterschiedlichen Spuren folgen, daß die Macht der Schönheit
nicht nur vom Kunstwerk selbst ausgeht, sondern im Betrachter selbst angelegt ist.
0 Spuren entdecken, Spuren lesen: "Bradbury's special world"
Oft bleibt, wenn alles vorbei ist, nur die Spur eines Lächelns - ein Verweis
auf Gestern wie auf Morgen. Ray Bradburys Short Story The Smile handelt