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How Languages are Learned


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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements; Introduction; 1. Learning a first language; Milestones and patterns in development; Early childhood bilingualism; Developmental sequences; Summary; Theoretical approaches to explaining first language learning; Behaviourism: Say what I say; Activity: Analysing children's speech; Innatism: It's all in your mind; The interactionist position: A little help from my friends; Summary; 2. Theoretical approaches to explaining second language learning; Activity: Learner problems; Behaviourism; Innatism; Universal Grammar; Krashen's 'monitor model'; Recent psychological theories; Information processing; Connectionism; The interactionist position; Summary; 3. Factors affecting second language learning; Activity: Characteristics of the 'good language learner'; Research on learner characteristics; Intelligence; Aptitude; Personality; Motivation and attitudes; Learner preferences; Learner beliefs; Age of acquisition; Activity: Comparing child, adolescent, and adult language learners; Summary; 4. Learner language; The concept of learner language; Activity: The Great Toy Robbery; Developmental sequences; Grammatical morphemes; Negation; Questions; Activity: Learners' questions; Activity: More about questions; Relative clauses; Reference to past; Movement through developmental sequences; New ways of looking at first language influence; Summary; 5. Observing second language teaching; Comparing instructional and natural settings for language learning; Activity: Natural and instructional settings; Activity: Classroom comparisons: teacher-student interactions; Classroom observation schemes; Activity: Observing the kinds of questions you ask your students; Feedback in the classroom; Activity: Analysing classroom interaction; Summary of transcripts; Activity: Observing how you respond to students' errors; Summary; 6. Second language learning in the classroom: Five proposals for classroom teaching; 1 Get it right from the beginning; 2 Say what you mean and mean what you say; 3 Just listen ... and read; 4 Teach what is teachable; 5 Get it right in the end; The implications of classroom research for teaching; Summary; 7. Popular ideas about language learning: Facts and opinions; 1 Languages are learned mainly through imitation; 2 Parents usually correct young children when they make grammatical errors; 3 People with high IQs are good language learners; 4 The most important factor in second language acquisition success is motivation; 5 The earlier a second language is introduced in school programs, the greater the likelihood of success; 6 Most of the mistakes which second language learners make are due to interference from their first language; 7 Teachers should present grammatical rules one at a time; 8 Teachers should teach simple structures before complex ones; 9 Learners' errors should be corrected as soon as they are made in order to prevent bad habits; 10 Teachers should use materials that expose students only to language structures they have already been taught; 11 When learners are allowed to interact freely they learn each others' mistakes; 12 Students learn what they are taught ; CONCLUSION; GLOSSARY; BIBLIOGRAPHY; INDEX

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1st edition won First Prize, English Speaking Union's Duke of Edinburgh Book Award.

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