Input Floods Revisited—A constructionist approach to incidental second language learning in the classroom

with Karin Madlener, University of Basel

Tue, November 11, 2014 | BUR 337

4:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Constructionist approaches to language acquisition assume that “our knowledge of language is ‘constructed’ on the basis of the input.” Providing learners with good, rich input is therefore a major task in language pedagogy. But what is good, rich input? What amount and what type of input do learners need to successfully (re-)construct the second language patterns? Exposing second language learners to large amounts of natural, meaningful input is often not sufficient to trigger acquisition, probably because many constructions are rare, complex or lack perceptual salience, because first language processing routines are deeply entrenched and learned attention may obscure second language cues and construals. This talk presents the results of a study in an instructed second language acquisition setting, focusing on the German sein + present participle construction. The results show, among other things, that input floods are not beneficial per se, but that only specific types of structured input floods enhance incidental construction learning. 

Sponsored by: Dept of Germanic Studies and the Texas Language Center

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