Theoretical Constructs of L2 Acquisition

By Parilah M. Shah, Aminuddin Yusof, Aini Akmar Mohd Kasim, Mohammad Zohrabi, Azlina Mohamed Nor, Norline Hamdan and Rosita Aminullah.

Published by Journal of the World Universities Forum

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This paper addresses the theoretical perspectives of second language (L2) acquisition and learning. The theoretical perspectives discussed are Ellis (1990) and Spolsky’s (1985) frameworks, Lambert (1974) and Gardner’s (1983, 1985) socio-psychological theories, Krashen’s (1982, 1985) theory of second language acquisition and Schumann’s acculturation model (1978). Ellis (1990) indicates that the factors influencing second language acquisition and learning are situational factors, linguistic input, learner differences, learner processes and linguistic output. In addition, Spolsky (1989) suggests seventy-four conditions for second language acquisition: one instance is, second language learning occurs in a social context that can influence attitudes and motivation that can in turn interact with individual characteristics and learning opportunities; and another instance is, individual differences join with social context whereby the learner makes use of second language opportunities to achieve linguistic and non-linguistic outcomes. On the other hand, there is Lambert’s (1974) socio-psychological model; this model begins with aptitude and attitude which affect motivation (e.g. integrative and instrumental) to produce bilingual proficiency; being bilingual has effects on self-concept, and the alternative outcomes could be subtractive or additive bilingualism. Related to Lambert’s model is Gardner’s socio-educational model (1983, 1985), which is pedagogic in nature; this model offers four stages: the first stage is the social and cultural context; the second stage is the individual differences such as intelligence, language aptitude, motivation and situational anxiety; the third stage is the formal language learning and informal language experience; and the fourth stage is the outcomes of bilingual proficiency and the non-linguistic outcomes. There is another model that stresses on the element of culture known as an acculturation model proposed by Schumann (1978), in which the essential point is that the second language learners undergo adaptation to the new culture. However, Krashen’s monitor model (1981, 1982, 1985) has a different focus; it claims that humans acquire language by receiving comprehensible input.

Keywords: Theoretical Constructs, L2 Acquisition

Journal of the World Universities Forum, Volume 1, Issue 6, pp.15-22. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 541.662KB).

Dr. Parilah M. Shah

Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Education, National University of Malaysia, Bangi, Selangor, Malaysia

Dr. Parilah M. Shah is a senior lecturer at the Faculty of Education, National University of Malaysia. She obtained her M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Connecticut, USA. Her research interests are second language acquisition, teaching of English to speakers of other languages, teaching of English for specific purposes (ESP), reading in English as a second language (ESL), and bilingual-bicultural education. She has presented several papers at both the national and international levels and has several publications in areas related to second language acquisition and learning.

Dr. Aminuddin Yusof

Director, Sports Academy, Universiti Putra Malaysia, Serdang, Selangor, Malaysia

Dr. Aminuddin Yusof is an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Educational Studies, University Putra Malaysia. In 2004, he was appointed as the director of the university’s Sports Academy. Dr. Aminuddin Yusof received his tertiary education in the United States; his B.A. from Wilmington College, his M.A. from University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, and his Ph.D. from the University of Connecticut. Dr. Aminuddin has been actively involved in research and professional services in the areas of Sports Management, Sports Industry and Sports Tourism. In addition to his publications in national and international sports science and physical education journals and others, he has made invited and keynote presentations at various professional meetings such as the Malaysian Association for Physical Education, Sports Science and Fitness (PPJSKM) and International Council for Health Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (ICHPER) conferences. He is actively involved in professional activities with Persatuan Pendidikan Jasmani, Sains Sukan, Kesihatan dan Kecergasan Malaysia (PPJSKM) as Journal Editor (2003-2004), Program Chair of Research Bureau (2002-2003) and Program Chair for Academic and Professional Education Bureau (1999-2001). His professional services include, but are not limited to, as a program evaluator for the National Accreditation Board (LAN), a member for National Committee on Sports Science Guidelines, and as External Examiner, Sports Science Graduate & Undergraduate Programs for several Malaysian universities.

Aini Akmar Mohd Kasim

Lecturer, Language Academy, MARA University of Technology, Shah Alam, Selangor, Malaysia

Aini Akmar Mohd Kasim is a lecturer at the Academy of Language Studies, MARA University of Technology (UiTM) Shah Alam. She has taught English Language as a Second Language (ESL) for more than ten years at both secondary and tertiary education level. She is a degree holder in B. Ed. (TESL) (Hons) and M. Ed (TESOL). Her areas of interest include the teaching and learning of English as a Second Language (ESL), learning strategies and qualitative research.

Dr. Mohammad Zohrabi

Lecturer, University of Tabriz, Tabriz, Iran (Islamic Republic of)

Mohammad Zohrabi is a lecturer at the University of Tabriz, Iran and has taught various English courses for twelve years. He has published four books: A Dictionary of Research Methods, A Dictionary of English-Farsi Terms, Reading English in Action, and Active Reading in English. His areas of interest include: Program Evaluation, Second Language Acquisition, Teaching Reading and Writing Skills, English for Academic Purposes, English for General Purposes and English for Specific Purposes.

Azlina Mohamed Nor

Lecturer, Kuala Lumpur Infrastructure University College (KLIUC), Kajang, Selangor, Malaysia

Azlina Mohamed Nor is an English language lecturer at Kuala Lumpur Infrastructure University College (KLIUC) and has worked there since 2002. She graduated from the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) in 2001 with a Bachelor of Human Sciences (English Language and Literature) and has just recently completed Master in Education (Teaching English as a Second Language) from the National University Malaysia. Her areas of research are child language development, language planning, and language and society.

Norline Hamdan

Teacher, Teluk Chempedak Secondary School, Pahang, Malaysia

Norline Hamdan is an English language teacher at the Teluk Chempedak Secondary School in Pahang, Malaysia. She has six years of teaching experience and has taught subjects such as the English language and Mathematics. She has B.A. and M.Ed. obtained from the National University of Malaysia. She is interested in conducting research related to English as a second language and language acquisition.

Rosita Aminullah

English Language Teacher, MARA Technical Institute, Pekan, Pahang, Malaysia

Rosita Aminullah is an English language teacher at MARA Technical Institute in Pahang, Malaysia. She has taught Communication English for 13 years to the technical and engineering students. She obtained her Teaching Certicate from Penang Teachers’ Training College, B.Ed. (TESL) from Putra University of Malaysia and M.Ed. from National University of Malaysia. Her areas of interest are English for Specific Purpose and Psycholinguistics in English language teaching.


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