Input processing revisited.
Current models of language pedagogy fail to provide with the abstract principles that a comprehensive theory of Second Language Acquisition (SLA (1) (StereoLithography Apparatus) See 3D printing.
(2) (Service Level Agreement) A contract between the provider and the user that specifies the level of service expected during its term. ) might require. All of these models acknowledge the important role of attention in any learning process, but they fall short of offering any linguistic model that could account for the psychological complexities involve in attention and perception. To exemplify this, the article puts into question (a) the internal validity Internal validity is a form of experimental validity . An experiment is said to possess internal validity if it properly demonstrates a causal relation between two variables  . of the principles stated in Van Patten's Input Processing Theory, and (b) the assumptions regarding language processing
Language processing refers to the way human beings process speech or writing and understand it as language. in Van Patten's language acquisition scheme. The article proposes an alternative scheme that redefines the set of cognitive processes Cognitive processes
Thought processes (i.e., reasoning, perception, judgment, memory).
Mentioned in: Psychosocial Disorders involved in language acquisition and that incorporates the findings of Psychology and Pedagogy.
In spite of multiple research studies focusing on the ways in which learners process second-language input, it remains largely unknown how learners develop competence in that second language. VanPatten, a leading proponent of the input-processing approach to SLA, stated that Krashen (1982) provided "the strongest position on the role of comprehensible com·pre·hen·si·ble
Readily comprehended or understood; intelligible.
[Latin compreh input" (VanPatten, 1995, p. 170). Even though critical evaluation of Krashen's model reveals that its premises are trivial at best, his work is still frequently cited in SLA research partly because criticism to the model "has served to underscore The underscore character (_) is often used to make file, field and variable names more readable when blank spaces are not allowed. For example, NOVEL_1A.DOC, FIRST_NAME and Start_Routine.
(character) underscore - _, ASCII 95. the need [...] to examine what learners do with and to input as part of the acquisition process" (VanPatten 1995:170). It is true that Krashen's model examined for the first time the interaction between learners and input as part of the acquisition process and its implications in teaching foreign languages, but it should be noted that the notion of comprehensible input is not new to general cognitive processes described in Psychology and Phenomenology phenomenology, modern school of philosophy founded by Edmund Husserl. Its influence extended throughout Europe and was particularly important to the early development of existentialism. .
Most research in SLA is informed by the presupposed existence of a language module that process information independently of other cognitive faculties of the mind. This paper investigates the psychological underpinnings of comprehensible input in SLA. Van Patten's theory of Input Processing will be examined in order to show that dealing with second language acquisition is far too complex a task to be reduced to a restrictive linguistic theory. Language is an organization of cognitive faculties that involve as much attention, conscious and unconscious, as memory. Language outcomes in adults differ from that in children, among other reasons because of their different metalinguistic met·a·lin·guis·tic
Of or relating to a metalanguage or to metalinguistics.
meta·lin·guis knowledge. That by itself should constitute a counterargument coun·ter·ar·gu·ment
1. An argument in opposition to another.
2. Something that undermines an argument or deters someone from action: against the idea of a cognitively independent language module. However, the fact that meaningful approaches have proven successful for adults as much as for children may be an indication that (a) the cognitive mechanisms of children and adults are the same and that (b) cognitive mechanisms in children are available to adults. This premise is not at all new to the field of SLA[I], but it takes a completely different direction when the approach shifts from generativist linguistics to lexical-functional linguistics. These cognitive mechanisms constitute what Lakoff refers to as conceptualizing capacity, that is, "People share a general conceptualizing capacity regardless of what difference they may have in conceptual systems" (Lakoff, in Albertazzi 2000, p. 77).
A theory of cognitive semantics Noun 1. cognitive semantics - the branch of semantics that studies the cognitive aspects of meaning
conceptual semantics, semasiology
semantics - the study of language meaning , such as lexical-functional linguistics, links semantic structure to general cognitive processes described in Psychology. The construal con·strue
v. con·strued, con·stru·ing, con·strues
1. To adduce or explain the meaning of; interpret: construed my smile as assent. See Synonyms at explain. operations, you may want to call it problem-solving strategies, that enter our conceptualizing capacity are not different from the gestalt Gestalt (gəshtält`) [Ger.,=form], school of psychology that interprets phenomena as organized wholes rather than as aggregates of distinct parts, maintaining that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. schemes that enter the world of perception. Croft CROFT, obsolete. A little close adjoining to a dwelling-house, and enclosed for pasture or arable, or any particular use. Jacob's Law Dict. & Wood (2000) list these construal operations under four processes: Attention, Judgment, Perspective, and Constitution. They all offer accounts of how the mind extracts meaning creating a whole from a fragmented perception. In this paper, I will argue that Van Patten's Input Processing Theory articulates a general pedagogical ped·a·gog·ic also ped·a·gog·i·cal
1. Of, relating to, or characteristic of pedagogy.
2. Characterized by pedantic formality: a haughty, pedagogic manner. principle but that it falls short of offering a coherent language-learning theory that incorporates the basic cognitive abilities we normally apply to the various realms of our experience.
Meaning and Cognition in Van Patten's Input Processing Theory
VanPatten cites evidence for a cognitive principle that serves as a foundation for communicative approaches: Attention capacity interacts with meaningful input. This is hardly a new established principle. In 1988, Andersen proposed a cognitive "Operating Principle" known as Formal Determinism.
When the form/meaning relationship is clearly and uniformly encoded in the input, the learner will discover it earlier than other form/meaning relationships and will incorporate it more consistently within his interlanguage system (Andersen, 1988, p. 16).
Finding out how form/meaning relationships may be encoded in the input is the basic tenet of Language Pedagogy. VanPatten (1995) proposes the Input Processing Theory, which he considers important for developing a theory of acquisition of a second language. In a first development of his theory, VanPatten (VanPatten 1995, p. 172) states in a set of hypotheses what the encoding of form/meaning relationships entails at the morphological level. It is noteworthy that these hypotheses do not take the role of conscious attention into account, even though VanPatten acknowledges that only conscious attention to input can be responsible for language acquisition: "You can't learn a foreign language [...] through subliminal perception subliminal perception: see perception. " (Schmidt, 1990, in Van Patten The Van Patten family has made a name for themselves in Hollywood as a family of actors and directors.
Input Processing Theory rests on (a) the presupposed validity of the separation of form and meaning and (b) the a-priori distinction between meaningful and non-meaningful morphology . Both assumptions imply an understanding of syntax and semantics as separate realms of linguistic knowledge, which then guides Van Patten's entire Input Processing Theory. According to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. VanPatten (1995:173, and 1998: 115), form and meaning often compete for cognitive resources. In other words Adv. 1. in other words - otherwise stated; "in other words, we are broke"
put differently , the learner is "driven to look for the message in the input [...] before looking for Looking for
In the context of general equities, this describing a buy interest in which a dealer is asked to offer stock, often involving a capital commitment. Antithesis of in touch with. how the message is encoded." This statement seems to obviate ob·vi·ate
tr.v. ob·vi·at·ed, ob·vi·at·ing, ob·vi·ates
To anticipate and dispose of effectively; render unnecessary. See Synonyms at prevent. the fact that meaning is an integral part of the information represented in lexical entries. Words create their own syntactic environment. They do not exist in the mind of the speaker by themselves, but in relationship to other words. In the process of form/meaning mapping in language acquisition, any new concept is incorporated into a language developing system according to a given encoding of linguistic information. In the case of learners of a second language, this encoding may have two sources of lexical interpretation: Speakers either map new entries to meanings developed in the process of L2 acquisition, or to the existing meanings in their L1 system.
VanPatten maintains that, from a universal standpoint of language acquisition, some morphological markers are more meaningful than others are. He cites an overwhelming amount of evidence regarding the order in which some English morphemes are acquired. Actually, VanPatten (1984) seems to offer a sound explanation for the order of acquisition of -ing forms, past tense past tense
A verb tense used to express an action or a condition that occurred in or during the past. For example, in While she was sewing, he read aloud, was sewing and read are in the past tense.
Noun 1. , and third person markers based on their relative communicative value. However, his conclusions provide evidence for a different claim: No marker can be compared to another without considering the conceptual mapping of the structure to which they are associated. From a universal standpoint, the relative communicative value of a form could only explain patterns of acquisition of such form in comparable communicative environments. Moreover, we cannot presume that these three forms per se are conceptually comparable to one another in any given language.
Further developments of Van Patten's principles of Input Processing Theory (VanPatten, 2003, p. 420) seek to offer new insights into the relationship between grammar and meaning--or between grammar and cognition-. In all, the final formulation of the theory is little more than a restatement of the original, and leaves how the mind encodes meaning unexplained. Let me summarize some of the conceptual problems that the latest installment of the Input Processing Theory presents. The theory implies a distinction between the lexical and the grammatical systems. The distinction between the two systems not only makes impossible to distinguish content words from lexical items--both terms used distinctively in the theory-, but it presents a logical problem. According to Input Processing, the learner processes lexical items before grammatical items only "when they encode the same semantic information". This implies that there must be instances in which form guides meaning. However, the learner can only know if lexical items and grammatical forms encode the same semantic relations when he/she is able to identify both, content and grammar. In other words, an utterance is meaningful only when both systems, the lexical and the grammatical, encode the same information.
The theory also states that learners tend to process lexical items in a particular order. That particular order does not refer to a linguistic principle, but to what it seems a developmental principle: the learner will process the first noun or pronoun pronoun, in English, the part of speech used as a substitute for an antecedent noun that is clearly understood, and with which it agrees in person, number, and gender. as a subject when lexical semantics Noun 1. lexical semantics - the branch of semantics that studies the meanings and relations of words
semantics - the study of language meaning , event probabilities, or contextual constraints allow for this interpretation. The assumption is that, for the learner to determine the reading of the first noun or pronoun as subject, constraints and probabilities have to be encoded in the lexical system. So the fundamental question remains unanswered: How do learners encode the L2 lexical system? Until explanations in terms of more abstract principles are given , generalizations of the type stated in Van Patten's Principles of Input Processing could contribute little to our understanding of the organization of linguistics systems in SLA. Of the principles governing Input Processing, the Principle of Primacy of Meaning reinstates a pedagogical principle underlying communicative approaches. As a pedagogical principle, it is external to the field of linguistics. A coherent theory of SLA must consider the inherent and fundamental connection between meaning and lexical categories--in which the grammatical system is encoded- in broader cognitive terms. The section below addresses the role of cognitive faculties in language processes.
Language Acquisition Scheme
VanPatten's Language Acquisition scheme distinguishes three sets of cognitive processes: Processing, Accommodating/Restructuring, and Monitoring/Accessing; and three distinctive informational systems: the Input System, the Developing System, and the Output System. He also includes a vaguely defined interim, the Intake System. In such scheme, L2 acquisition learners move from the Input System to the Intake System by virtue of the set of cognitive faculties involved in Processing; then, from the Intake System to the Developing System by Accommodating/Restructuring; and finally, from the Developing System to the Output System by Monitoring/Accessing. VanPatten fails to explain how the set of processes under Processing is distinctive from those under Accommodating/Restructuring. In other words, he does not explain how the Intake System differs from the Developing System. If intake is understood as "that part of the input that the learner notices" (Schmidt, 1990, p 139), which is the part of the input that has become meaningful, then the distinction between intake and developing system becomes irrelevant in the acquisition scheme.
The set of processes under Accommodating borrows the term from Piaget (see Beilin & Pufall, 1992). Assimilation and accommodation, as understood in developmental psychology developmental psychology
Branch of psychology concerned with changes in cognitive, motivational, psychophysiological, and social functioning that occur throughout the human life span. , are two complementary ways to process stimuli. Assimilation implies the mapping of new entries over existing patterns in the developing system: Learners attend to input and incorporate it into an already existing system. As data enter the developing system, the system readjusts itself in order to incorporate newer data. Accommodation is the adjustment made in the existing patterns in the system to incorporate these data. Van Patten calls Restructuring to this adjustments. For him, the mechanisms involve in Restructuring are the mechanisms responsible for the acquisition of syntax according to Chomsky's Universal Grammar universal grammar
n. Abbr. UG
A system of grammatical rules and constraints believed to underlie all natural languages. (Van Patten, 1995:171). This presents another logical problem: there cannot be Monitoring if such a self-sufficient data processing data processing or information processing, operations (e.g., handling, merging, sorting, and computing) performed upon data in accordance with strictly defined procedures, such as recording and summarizing the financial transactions of a language module were solely responsible for Restructuring.
Monitoring, as defined, by VanPatten (2003, p. 415) incorporates Swain's (1985) output hypothesis, in which output fosters acquisition by promoting learners interaction with input . Thus, Monitoring Processes makes use of conscious channels of rule formation to increase the incidence of correct utterances. Using conscious channels implies that the function of language input system is affected by information in other systems. We may have to conclude that, as part of the conscious channels by which knowledge of any kind is attained, general cognitive principles such as memorization mem·o·rize
tr.v. mem·o·rized, mem·o·riz·ing, mem·o·riz·es
1. To commit to memory; learn by heart.
2. Computer Science To store in memory: , induction, and deduction, among other, do play a role in language acquisition.
The role of instruction
All of the discussions above lead us to a revision of the role of instruction and of the theoretical underpinning of communicative approaches to teaching languages. Grammar-based methodologies, even if grammar instruction is limited to explain regularities in the target language, are disregarded because they assume that L2 learning mechanisms are not different from mechanisms in other domains of knowledge. However, and without advocating for any grammatical methodology, instruction is only possible if we give to L2 linguistic knowledge the same status as other kinds of knowledge.
The validity of any meaning-based approach to SLA cannot be based on the grounds that language is a system in its own right. By acknowledging this, we understand that SLA responds to a psychological complexity that extends beyond our current knowledge of any possible cognitively autonomous language acquisition device The Language Acquisition Device (LAD) is a postulated "organ" of the brain that is supposed to function as a congenital device for learning symbolic language (ie. language acquisition). . Cognitive semantics proposes a paradigm that revives theories of descriptive psychology developed at the beginning of this century: Gestalt theory and experimentation (see Lakoft, 1977). Gestalt signifies a structured complex whose elements have value only in relation to the whole. Each element that enters our experience is determined by its relationship to other elements to which it is associated. Gestalt also signifies form, shape: A gestalt is a whole of relations that we can grasp only if we are able to unify everything in one intellectual glance. Intimately linked to the psychology of Gestalt, Graziano (1975) proposes a language construct known as Language Operational Gestalt (LOG), "a radically pragmatic and empirical way of experiencing that combines many of the contribution of Language Analysis [...] and Gestalt" which integrates isolated sectors of our experience. LOG is a theory of meaning: Only what can be experienced in the here and now has meaning or use. LOG is at the core of pedagogic ped·a·gog·ic also ped·a·gog·i·cal
1. Of, relating to, or characteristic of pedagogy.
2. Characterized by pedantic formality: a haughty, pedagogic manner. proposals aimed to explore attention processes: input processing, input enhancement Input enhancement is a concept in second language acquisition, coined by Michael Sharwood Smith, that is commonly used to signal methods that an instructor uses to make selected features of a second language more salient for learners in such a way as to facilitate acquisition. (Rutherford & Sharwood Smith, 1985; Sharwood Smith, 1993) and focus on form (Doughty dough·ty
adj. dough·ti·er, dough·ti·est
Marked by stouthearted courage; brave.
[Middle English, from Old English dohtig; see dheugh- in Indo-European roots. , 2001; Doughty & Williams, 1998; Long, 1991; Long & Robinson, 1998). As Graziano says
The uses of a sound configuration are demonstrated by experiencing the same sound in connection with various situations to obtain different purposes. That sound is experienced as one configuration of many phenomena, a gestalt completed when the meaning is understood. (Graziano, 1975:1)
Only repeated experiences with comprehensible input can be responsible for language acquisition: Language generalizations require that learners have processed enough data in the context of meaningful communicative activity. Limitations in time and interaction in classroom instruction given, what seems to be at stake is how to reconcile input frequency with explicit methods of teaching. For Ellis the answer is straightforward: "language acquisition can be speeded by explicit instruction" (Ellis, 2002, p. 145). The effectiveness of one method over the other may be a futile argument until we know what is stored in the speaker's knowledge of the target language. This means that any implicit teaching, as well as any explicit teaching, assumes rules derived from a reference grammar of some kind with no certain knowledge of how a particular feature is represented in the mind of the learner. The fact that generalizations and categories about the target language may be implicitly taught does not take away from the fact that they have been formulated explicitly, at least to the extent to which it is necessary in order to structure the contents in the curriculum of any instructional setting.
How attention interacts with input is the point of departure for Van Patten's set of Input Processing principles, but none of these principles offers the basic tenets for the development of a theory of acquisition of a second language: essentially, they represent generalizations that lack explanatory value. Furthermore, the epistemology epistemology (ĭpĭs'təmŏl`əjē) [Gr.,=knowledge or science], the branch of philosophy that is directed toward theories of the sources, nature, and limits of knowledge. Since the 17th cent. underlying the hypothesis, that is, the existence of a specific language domain for L2, undermines cognitive strategies that may enter the process of acquisition and that are external to any possible language module. If the language specific domain existed, then instruction would be completely irrelevant since what instruction offers is a shortcut (1) In Windows, a shortcut is an icon that points to a program or data file. Shortcuts can be placed on the desktop or stored in other folders, and double clicking a shortcut is the same as double clicking the original file. to the process of language acquisition. It is without question that acquisition requires comprehensible input. However, how the learner moves from comprehension to production remains uncertain. As language educators, we should not discard any type of activity that involve the incorporation of non linguistic faculties as means of acquiring knowledge of a language, at least, "not until we are better informed by what we know about processes involved in acquisition" (VanPatten, 2003:419).
Andersen, R. (1988). Models, processes, principles, and strategies: Second language acquisition in and out the classroom. IDEAL, 3, 77-95.
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New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of : Cambridge University Press Cambridge University Press (known colloquially as CUP) is a publisher given a Royal Charter by Henry VIII in 1534, and one of the two privileged presses (the other being Oxford University Press). .
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Rutherford, W., & Sharwood Smith, M. (1985). Consciousness raising Consciousness raising (often abbreviated c.r.) is a form of political activism, pioneered by United States radical feminists in the late 1960s. It often takes the form of a group of people attempting to focus the attention of a wider group of people on some cause or and Universal Grammar. Applied Linguistics Applied linguistics is an interdisciplinary field of study that identifies, investigates, and offers solutions to language-related real life problems. Some of the academic fields related to applied linguistics are education, linguistics, psychology, anthropology, and sociology. , 6, 274-282.
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Swain, M. (1985). Communicative competence Communicative competence is a linguistic term which refers to a learner's L2 ability. It not only refers to a learner's ability to apply and use grammatical rules, but also to form correct utterances, and know how to use these utterances appropriately. : Some roles of comprehensible input and comprehensible output in its development, in S. Gass & C. Madden mad·den
v. mad·dened, mad·den·ing, mad·dens
1. To make angry; irritate.
2. To drive insane.
To become infuriated. (Eds.), Input in Second Language Acquisition (pp. 235-253). Rowley, MA.: Newbury House.
VanPatten, B. (1984). Communicative value and information processing information processing: see data processing.
Acquisition, recording, organization, retrieval, display, and dissemination of information. Today the term usually refers to computer-based operations. in second language acquisition. In P. Larson, E. Judd, & D. Messerschmitt (Eds.), TESOL TESOL
1. Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages
2. teaching English to speakers of other languages "84 (pp. 89-99). Washington: TESOL
VanPatten, B. (1995). Cognitive aspects of input processing in second language acquisition. In P. Hasehmipour, R. Maldonado, & M. Van Naerssen (Eds.), Studies in language learning and Spanish linguistics in honor of Tracy D. Terrell Tracy D. Terrell was an education theorist who, along with Stephen Krashen, wrote The Natural Approach. The natural approach is a comprehension-based language learning methodology which emphasizes the idea of exposure and the lowering of affective or emotional barriers to (pp. 170-183). New York: McGraw-Hill.
VanPatten, B. (1998). Cognitive characteristics of adult second language learners. In H. Byrne (Ed.), Learning foreign and second languages (pp. 105-127). New York: MLA MLA
Modern Language Association
MLA n abbr (BRIT POL) (= Member of the Legislative Assembly) → miembro de la asamblea legislativa
MLA (Brit .
Van Patten, B. (2003). The evidence is IN: drills are OUT. Foreign Language Annals, 36, 403-420.
 Two are the traditional competing models of SLA:
a) The Universal Grammar (UG) based model: The same language learning strategies are at work in L1 and adult L2 acquisition and
b) The problem-solving model: Non-U cognitive mechanisms determine the differences between L1 and L2 grammars
 Morphological morphemes refer to the open class categories that constitute the grammatical system according to Cognitive Linguistics In linguistics and cognitive science, cognitive linguistics (CL) refers to the school of linguistics that understands language creation, learning, and usage as best explained by reference to human cognition in general. .
 In terms of propositional logic (logic) propositional logic - (or "propositional calculus") A system of symbolic logic using symbols to stand for whole propositions and logical connectives. Propositional logic only considers whether a proposition is true or false. alone, some principles stated in Input Processing Theory are irrelevant. For instance, if redundancy is subordinated to meaning--Principle P1.d-, stating that the learner processes non-redundant meaningful forms before redundant meaningful ones--Principle Pl .c- is a false statement. When an item considered redundant enters the learner's attention more easily than a non-redundant one, it is reasonable to believe that the learner may perceive the item as non-redundant.
 Van Patten argues that for Swain output plays three roles in promoting acquisition: Noticing linguistic features in the input, hypothesis testing hypothesis testing
In statistics, a method for testing how accurately a mathematical model based on one set of data predicts the nature of other data sets generated by the same process. , and promoting conscious awareness of language and language use.
Antonio Gragera, Texas State University San Marcos San Marcos (săn mär`kəs).
1 City (1990 pop. 38,974), San Diego co., S Calif., a northern suburb of San Diego; settled 1880s, inc. 1963.
Gragera, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor in the Department of Modern Languages.