This is a series of workshops on language acquisition, Bilingualism, Language policy and language acquisition planning, and Second language teaching. The workshops will be held on 18 – 21 March at the University of Sri Jayewardenepura and will be conducted by Prof. Tanja Kupisch and Ms. P. Nagasundaram.
This workshop will be concerned with the youngest field in language acquisition research, namely, third language acquisition (L3 acquisition), where “L3” can refer to any language acquired after the first foreign language. We will start with introductions to topics in first and second language acquisition (L1 and L2 acquisition), and then move on to L3 acquisition. While traditionally the field of foreign language acquisition has been concerned with the question as to how a native language influences a second language acquired at school, our world has become increasingly multilingual. This also implies that models of language acquisition need to take into account that the native language is not the only transfer source in foreign language acquisition and, similarly, that many speakers have more than one native language to transfer from. We will introduce some current models of transfer in L3/n acquisition, e.g. the idea that transfer tends to come from the typological closest language. Students are welcome to discuss these models based on their own experience.
This course/workshop will introduce the domain of bilingualism research. We will start out with possible definitions, based on the literature, and introduce basic terminology, such as early vs. late bilinguals, child vs. adult second language learners, heritage bilinguals, active vs. passive bilinguals, etc. We will then introduce the Critical Period Hypothesis, i.e., the idea that there is a period during which language acquisition is optimal. We will start by introducing the classic version and proceed towards more recent accounts while looking at relevant empirical evidence and counterevidence. Finally, we will discuss whether the effects of exposure and use can be teased apart from age effects.
Language policy and language acquisition planning
This course/workshop will be concerned with language policy and language acquisition planning. We will begin by asking how policy influences language in education and introduce the different types of language planning in education (e.g. corpus planning, status planning, and acquisition planning). We will then turn to educational issues (e.g. language rights) and social scales (e.g. governments, schools, and individuals) for language planning. We will conclude by discussing the concept of “ecology of language planning” and its relevance to educational settings. Throughout this course, we will discuss to what extent research on bi- and multilingualism may or should inform policy decisions.
Second language teaching
Traditionally, the focus in second language teaching and learning has been on developing communication skills. It has been found that communication skills alone are not sufficient for graduates or non-graduates to survive in their place of work. Currently, it is a well-known fact that many employers, particularly in the corporate sector complain that the present day graduates/non-graduates are not employable since they do not possess the employment skills that would help them to function efficiently and effectively in their place of work.
This workshop focuses on the significance of developing employment skills along with communication skills in second language teaching and the following would be discussed:
a) Incorporating employment skills into the ESL curriculum
b) Role of the English language teachers in making learners employable
c) Activities that develop employment skills.