I've always loved this. I mean...do they seriously believe we don't notice?
Saturday, 25 June 2016
I have already said that I’m a student and that I had the intention of speaking about the topics I’ve been learning for the past years. Today I really want to speak about a topic that has been in my mind since Wednesday. When I first started this year at the teachers training college we spoke about the properties of human language. This is a topic that we have talked about many times before. We’ve worked with a chapter of Yule in which he explains 6 characteristics which make human language unique:
1. DISPLACEMENT: humans can talk about past and future and refer to abstract things.
2. ARBITRARINESS: there is no natural connection between a word and its meaning.
3. PRODUCTIVITY: language users manipulate their linguistic resources to produce new expressions. This may also be known as OPEN-ENDEDNESS.
4. CULTURAL TRANSMISSION: language is transmitted from one generation to the other.
5. DISCRETENESS: each sound in the language is treated as discrete. Different sounds in words can convey different meanings. Ex: pack-back.
6. DUALITY: by combining different sound we can produce a large number of combinations. Ex: T- A- E can be TEA of EAT; the same letters can make different words which have different meanings.
These characteristics only correspond to HUMAN language and according to our knowledge we are the only species who can produce speech following the six properties.Before I explain the reason why I’ve been thinking about this topic in particular since Wednesday I would like to share a quote from the book, which is actually the beginning of the chapter:
“I once knew a golden retriever named Newton who had a perverse sense of humor. Whenever I tossed out a Frisbee for him to chase, he’d take off in hot pursuit but then seem to lose track of it. Trotting back and forth only a yard or two from the toy, Newton would look all around, even up into trees. He seemed genuinely baffled. Finally, I’d give up and head into the field to help him out. But no sooner would I get within ten feet of him than he would invariably dash straight over to the Frisbee, grab it and start running like mad, looking over his shoulder with what looked suspiciously like a grin” Michael Lemonick (1993)
Now, I’ve been thinking about these particularities because I witnessed something that can only be described as a conversation. I was outside playing with my dogs. I have five of them, two females and three males. The two females, Laika and Kiara, where looking at the three males playing. They are mothers and sons, Laika has Milo and Casique and Kiara has Otto. While the boys where playing the girls started to have a conversation, in turn each would make a series of sounds and the other one would respond making different sounds. I can even say that the conversation heated up in a moment and then went back to normal. Once they finished speaking they kissed each other and lay close, still looking at their sons.
I know I have used terms which we use to speak about a conversation that two friends might have but I feel as if the terms fit perfectly in this context. I know scientists have recognized an existing language in the bee community and that chimpanzees can imitate human language but, what about dogs? I’ve already told you that I love animals and dogs in particular. I believe they can speak. I believe they have an amazing system of language with its own properties. It would be absurd to think otherwise because it is very similar to the idea that there’s only life on Earth.
Saturday, 18 June 2016
Thursday, 16 June 2016
Hello everyone!! :)
Today I want to make a post just to share a reflexion I wrote for my English and its teaching class. It was one of the assignments on the topics we've been working with. It is about Noam Chomsky's idea of the innateness of human language. Later on I will deal with the rest of the topics worked in class.
to Chomsky children are born with what he calls LAD (Language Acquisition
Device). This device is the reason why any children can acquire any language in
any place. The theory is that the child gets input and from that input the LAD
sets the parameters of Universal Grammar. The latter refers to the set of
principles and parameters of all human languages. It is as if the child has all
the knowledge about grammar and activates it as s/he processes the input. He
says that “the things that are missing from the input are added by the UG”.
This is why children often come up with complex sentences which they had never
is great for me but unfortunately it cannot be proved. The only way to see if
it is true would be to have access to the “black box” in which children process
the input they get and set the parameters. I like this theory and I like it a
lot because I believe that things always go beyond what we know concretely. It
would be like believing there is only life on planet Earth and not
acknowledging the wideness and possibilities that the universe has.Children
must have something inside their minds. And why not a device which helps them
to acquire language? His idea is revolutionary and that is why I like it.
The abilities our minds have are awesome. If you don't agree just read this...
Wednesday, 15 June 2016
Tuesday, 14 June 2016
Tuesday, 7 June 2016
Hello fellow blogger!
First of all, I would like to begin this post by apologizing because I haven’t been able to post as many things as I would’ve liked to share.Now, let’s go straight to the point!During the last five years I’ve been learning about the different approaches, methods and techniques for SLA. I’ve also studied the roles teachers and students take according to each theory. My teachers have always pointed out several facts, some of them are:
v Not all students acquire language at the same speed
v All students have different methods which suit them best
v Don’t “marry” with the first method you learn (you could do it but you’d have to define the reasons why you’re choosing that specific method over all the others; and you should be faithful to that method)v MOST IMPORTANT OF ALL: every teacher should make a balanced mixture of all the approaches, methods and techniques to bring an appealing lesson to the students.
A few years ago I witnessed a lesson and now I would like to share my experience. The teacher introduced the Simple Present. I know this grammatical structure generates difficulties for some students so it takes a lot of time and work to help them to acquire it. The teacher in this particular case started the explanation by contrasting the Simple Present with the Present Continuous. Immediately after that she introduced the third person rule. I couldn’t believe it because it was the first time students were exposed to this structure and at the exact time the teacher expected them to produce sentences following the third person rule. On top of that she had only provided three examples of particular cases.I’ve had the experience of teaching Simple Present last year. I planned my lessons having read material extensively and knowing the tips my teachers gave me. So I thought it would be a good idea to share some of the lessons I delivered in case someone is struggling with this particular structure. Always keep in mind that adapting the material to our learners is a key point for it to be successful and that this is just my point of view.
Finally, I would like to say that I know it is hard to plan in this way and that it is more demanding and time-consuming, not only for the teacher but also for the students, but it is totally worth it. When you see the final results you understand the importance and the huge difference that planning can make. In my case students were able to produce the language without difficulties. If you choose to use the plans I’m sharing take into account that they were prepared for children of around eleven years old.
Remember that no matter how hard it gets, if you work hard enough you’ll get your reward! And of course…keep updated!!