Interlanguage Brief Overview This is a brief overview of interlanguage for the reader to understand the main points. Readers are encouraged to study more in-depth to gain a full appreciation of the history, development, and implementation of this theory as it contains an extreme amount of complex information. How far down the rabbit hole do you want to go? At the end are guiding questions for the educator to contemplate instruction and Interlangauge.

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Background[ edit ] Before the interlanguage hypothesis rose to prominence, the principal theory of second-language L2 development was contrastive analysis. This approach was deficit-focused, in the sense that speech errors were thought to arise randomly and should be corrected. Variability[ edit ] Interlanguage is claimed to be a language in its own right. Learner language varies much more than native-speaker language. Selinker noted that in a given situation the utterances produced by the learner are different from those native speakers would produce had they attempted to convey the same meaning.

For example, it may be more accurate, complex and fluent in one discourse domain than in another. Spontaneous conversation is more likely to involve the use of interlanguage. A learner may produce a target-like variant e.

Scholars from different traditions have taken opposing views on the importance of this phenomenon. Those who bring a Chomskyan perspective to second-language acquisition typically regard variability as nothing more than performance errors, and not worthy of systematic inquiry. Free variation[ edit ] Free variation in the use of a language feature is usually taken as a sign that it has not been fully acquired.

The learner is still trying to figure out what rules govern the use of alternate forms. This type of variability seems to be most common among beginning learners, and may be entirely absent among the more advanced. Linguistic factors are usually extremely local. For example, in earlier stages of acquisition, a learner will often display systematic constraints on their ability to use the correct tense. But they will show higher accuracy when the word following the tensed word begins with a nonconsonant e.

Other factors[ edit ] Social factors may include a change in register or the familiarity of interlocutors. For example, they may deliberately choose to address a non-target form like "me no" to an English teacher in order to assert identity with a non-mainstream ethnic group.

The more time that learners have to plan, the more target-like their production may be. Thus, literate learners may produce much more target-like forms in a writing task for which they have 30 minutes to plan, than in conversation where they must produce language with almost no planning at all. For example, learners in a stressful situation such as a formal exam may produce fewer target-like forms than they would in a comfortable setting.

This clearly interacts with social factors, and attitudes toward the interlocutor and topic also play important roles. Stages of development[ edit ] Individuals learning a second language may not always hear spoken L2 words as separate units. The blended words are called "prefabricated patterns" or "chunks". For example, if an English learner hears sentences beginning with "do you", they may associate it with being an indicator of a question but not as two separate words.

To them, the word is "doyou". They may happen to say "What do you doing? When learners experience significant restructuring in their L2 systems, they sometimes show a U-shaped learning pattern. For instance, a group of English language learners moved, over time, from accurate usage of the "-ing" present progressive morpheme, to incorrectly omitting it, and finally, back to correct usage.

As their knowledge of tense in English expanded, this disrupted their correct usage of the morpheme. They eventually returned to correct usage when they gained greater understanding of the tense rules in English.

These data provide evidence that the learners were initially producing output based on rote memory of individual words containing the present progressive "-ing" morpheme. However, in the second stage their systems contained the rule that they should use the bare infinitive form to express present action, without a separate rule for the use of "-ing".

Finally, they learned the rule for appropriate use of "-ing". The "chunking" method enables a learner to practice speaking their L2 before they correctly break the chunk up in to its component parts. Main article: Interlanguage fossilization An interlanguage can fossilize, or cease developing, in any of its developmental stages. It can occur even in motivated learners who are continuously exposed to their L2 or have adequate learning support.

Fossilization occurs often in adult language learners. It can also occur when a learner succeeds in conveying messages with their current L2 knowledge. The learner fossilizes the form instead of correcting it. Linguistic universals[ edit ] Research on universal grammar UG has had a significant effect on second-language acquisition SLA theory.

In particular, scholarship in the interlanguage tradition has sought to show that learner languages conform to UG at all stages of development. An example of a UG constraint is an " island constraint ," where the wh-phrase in a question has a finite number of possible positions.

Island constraints are based on the concept that there are certain syntactical domains within a sentence that act as phrase boundaries. It is theorized that the same constraints that act on a native UG are also often present in an interlanguage UG. Versus creoles and pidgins[ edit ] The concept of interlanguage is closely related to other types of language, especially creoles and pidgins.

Each of these languages has its own grammar and phonology. In contrast, creoles and pidgins are generally the product of groups of people in contact with another language, and therefore may be more stable.


Interlanguage Definition and Examples

Predictive sentence processing in L2 and L1. Volume 15 Issue Janpp. Towards an integrated view of language acquisition. The concise encyclopedia of applied linguistics. The importance of the pragmatic and sociolinguistic context. Comparative Comprehension of Interlanguage and Target Language. An intergroup approach to second language acquisition.


Larry Selinker

Education[ edit ] Selinker received his B. He received his M. From to he was a Fulbright scholar at the University of Edinburgh , where he researched the psycholinguistics of second-language acquisition. He left Washington in , when he earned a Fulbright scholarship at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. In Jerusalem, Selinker focused on advanced reading for second-language learners.

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