Sociolinguistics and English Language Learners (ELLs)

 

The first three chapters of Diaz-Rico and Weed make the following basic points:

1. An L2 is acquired (or should be) in a sociolinguistic context (chapter 1)

2. Psycho-/socio-cultural factors influence second language acquisition (chapter 2)

3. Knowing a language always involves an abstract knowledge of structure and a more concrete knowledge of how to put the language to use (chapter 3)

 

As a class we’ll look together at the key sub-points that support each of these main points.

 

1. An L2 is acquired (or should be) in a sociolinguistic context

 

a. There’s a difference between knowledge about a language that is acquired vs. learned

 

 

 

b. Speakers of a language monitor their performance in two different ways

 

 

 

c. Acquisition occurs only if language input is comprehensible, which is a matter of context

 

 

 

d. Affective/emotional variables have a dramatic impact on second language acqusition

 

 

 

e. Knowing a language involves not just grammatical competence, but communicative competencies as well

i.                     sociolinguistic competence

 

 

 

ii.                   discourse competence

 

 

 

iii.                  strategic competence

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Psycho-/socio-cultural factors influence second language acquisition (SLA)

 

a. Psychological factors influence SLA

 

i.                     Affective/emotional factors

Self-esteem

 

 

 

Motivation

 

 

 

Anxiety

 

 

 

Attitudes of the learner

 

 

 

ii.                   Cognitive factors

CALP vs. BICS

 

 

 

Age

 

 

 

Common language acquisition processes

 

 

 

Common stages of English language development

 

 

 

Learning styles

 

 

 

Learner Strategies

 

 

 

Cognitive style

 

 

 

Cognitive effects of bilingualism

 

 

 

b. Sociocultural factors influence SLA

i.                     Acculturation

 

 

 

ii.                   Status of languages

 

 

 

iii.                  Value systems

 

 

 

iv.                 Attitudes toward standard and nonstandard varieties

 

 

 

v.                   School organization

 

 

 

3. Knowing a language always involves an abstract knowledge of structure and a more concrete knowledge of how to put the language to use

 

a.         Structure: speakers of English know the phonemes of the language

            Use: they also know how to modify pronunciation to accommodate for situation

 

 

b.         Structure: speakers of English know the basic kinds of syntactic patterns of English

            Use: they also know how pitch can change the usual meanings of these patterns

 

 

c.         Structure: speakers of English know how to add inflectional suffixes according to rules

            Use: they also know exceptions to the rules and so don’t overgeneralize

 

 

 

 

d.         Structure: speakers of English know syntactic variations that essentially convey the same

meaning

Use: they also know when one is preferable to another

 

 

e.         Structure: speakers of English know the conventional meanings of words

            Use: they also know how to extend the meanings of words and to reverse them

 

 

f.          Structure: speakers of English know the conventional meanings of sentences

            Use: they also know how to employ sentences in context to imply meanings

 

 

g.         Structure: speakers of English can create novel sentences

            Use: they also know how to create sentences that are relevant in ongoing discourse

 

 

h.         Structure: speakers of English can engage in oral discourse

            Use: they also know how to modify oral competence for written discourse

 

 

i.          Structure: speakers of English can make assertions (say that something is T or F)

            Use: speakers of English are also able to make apologies, excuses, promises, bets,

predictions, refusals, etc.

 

 

j.          Structure: speakers of English acquire a certain historical variety of the language

            Use: speakers are also aware that the language is changing

 

 

k.         Structure: speakers of English communicate verbally—with words

            Use: they also employ nonverbal communication

i.                     Body language

Gestures

 

 

Facial expressions

 

 

Eye contact

 

 

                        ii.          Space/distance/proxemics

 

 

                        iii.         Time