He adopted the classical conditioning theory as the explanation for all learn-ing: by the process of conditioning, we build an array of stimulus-response connections, and more complex behaviors are learned by building up series or chains of responses. Later, Thorndike expanded on classical conditioning models by showing that stimuli that occurred after a behavior had an influ-ence on future behaviors. Thorndike’s law of effect paved the way for anoth-er psychologist, B. F. Skinnanoth-er, to modify our undanoth-erstanding of human learn-ing.


 Brown 2007; Watson 1913 classroom discourse

the observed interaction between teacher and learners and between learners and learners. It is often claimed to constitute a distinct discourse domain.

That is, it contains content features, structural relationships, and rituals which make it distinct from, for example, day-to-day informal conversation or the discourse of interviews. Classroom discourse is of interest to SLA re-searchers because:

1) the L2 (in broadly communicative classrooms) represents both the content of the lesson and the medium through which the content is understood (thus it di ers from other subjects on the curriculum);

2) in many contexts teacher INPUT is the main exposure to the L2 that ers receive, thus the interaction represents a unique opportunity for learn-ing;

3) TEACHER TALK often contains the pedagogical intentions of the teacher which may not be obvious to observers or understood by learners;

4) classroom discourse is highly complex in that it often operates on several

‘planes’ and utterances can be directed at any number and combinations of participants in the interaction.

Analysis of classroom discourse has been proposed as a tool for language teacher development. Research has centered on: how teachers modify their speech to make it comprehensible (see COMPREHENSIBLE INPUT); the use of controlling mechanisms which teachers deploy (e.g., through topic selection and TURN-TAKING patterns); the cognitive demands of teacher questions; how communication breakdown is repaired; how teachers provide FEEDBACK to learner errors; how learners become socialized via the interaction. These di-verse research themes reflect di erent research traditions adopted and there is disagreement as to which analytical methods best explain the phenome-non—socio-cultural (how interaction shapes society), psycholinguistic (how the interaction leads to learning) or ‘neutral-descriptive’ (the quantification and classification of talk).

 Chaudron 1988; Macaro et al. 2010

code switching 61 CM

an abbreviation for COMPETITION MODEL

cocktail party effect


cocktail party phenomenon also cocktail party effect

the ability that humans have in social gatherings to listen selectively to speech coming from one source (e.g., a conversation some distance away) while ignoring other sources (e.g., the speech of other guests, even those who are closer). Redundancy in conversation helps make this possible, but the phenomenon is a specific example of the more general human ability to pay attention selectively to some stimuli while ignoring others.

see also ATTENTION

 Richards & Schmidt 2010 code switching

the practice of alternating between two languages (or dialects) during com-munication. In bilinguals (see BILINGUALISM), code switching is the act of inserting words, phrases, or even longer stretches of one language into the other. It can take place in a conversation when one speaker uses one lan-guage and the other speaker answers in a different lanlan-guage. A person may start speaking one language and then change to another one in the middle of their speech, or sometimes even in the middle of a sentence.

There are a number of principles underlying this switching although excep-tions or violaexcep-tions of these principles have been recorded:

1) it is normally accepted that one language is the dominant language and the other the embedded language;

2) that switching can take place intrasententially or intersententially (the latter sometimes known as code-mixing);

3) that the grammar of either language is not violated.

In uninstructed settings, code switching is considered to be a bilingual com-petence, not a symptom of language deficiency, and one of a series of COM-MUNICATION STRATEGIES through which meaning can be expressed. Func-tions of code switching include its use for sociocultural e ect, for establish-ing social relationships, for signalestablish-ing utterances on di erent textual planes, for communicating more precisely a concept not existing in the dominant language, and for using appropriate metalanguage among professionals. Use of code switching in formal bilingual classrooms is somewhat contentious and even more so in monolingual foreign language classrooms where it is sometimes considered pejoratively as resorting to L1 use due to its e ect of

62 cognition

reducing exposure to L2, undermining the communicative orientation of the classroom, and depriving learners of the opportunity to infer meaning. Sup-porters of code switching in instructed settings argue that, on limited occa-sions, communicative tasks can be advanced via judicious teacher code switching, and learning can be enhanced by making reference to the learn-er’s L1. They posit, moreover, that SLA instruction should be concerned with creating bilinguals not emulating native speakers, and that to prohibit learners from using their own L1 can be a form of linguistic imperialism.

Researchers are trying to establish a series of principles for judicious use of code switching which might inform practice.

 Macaro et al. 2010; Myers-Scotton 1989; Richards & Schmidt 2010 cognition

the use or handling of knowledge; hence, (a) the faculty which permits us to think and reason and (b) the process involved in thought and reasoning. It is sometimes contrasted with metacognition, which can be defined as ‘thinking about thinking’ and involves preplanning a cognitive process, exercising control over the process or taking steps to ensure that its results are stored long term. Metacognition involves some degree of awareness, whereas cog-nitive processes may not be available to report.

An important issue is whether language is part of general cognition or is a separate faculty. One argument supporting the latter (modular) view is the fact that all normally developing infants achieve a first language whatever their cognitive capacities in other areas.


 Field 2004

Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency see BASIC INTERPERSONAL COMMUNICATION SKILLS cognitive constructivism

see CONSTRUCTIVISM cognitive development

also stage theory of development, Piagetian stages of development

developmental changes in cognitive abilities, processes, and structures. The best known theory of childhood cognitive development is that of Jean Piaget.

For Piaget language was both a social and a cognitive phenomenon. It was not an independent modular faculty but part of general cognitive and percep-tual processing. Language acquisition was thus dependent upon cognitive development. The child’s level of language was determined by whether it had acquired certain fundamental concepts and by the complexity of the pro-cessing operations of which it was capable. Piaget suggested that cognitive development fell into four phases. They constitute a gradual progression in

cognitive organizer 63 which previous stages are revisited cyclically. The age at which a particular child goes through each stage varies considerably. Each stage has implica-tions for linguistic development.

1) Sensorimotor (birth to 2 years). The child achieves recognition of object permanence (the fact that an object still exists even when it is not in view). This is a prerequisite to the formation of concepts (including lexi-cal concepts). It may be a dawning awareness of object permanence which first leads the child to name things and gives rise to the ‘vocabu-lary spurt’ at around 18 months. The first relational words (‘no’ ‘up’

‘more’ ‘gone’) also reflect object permanence, with those indicating presence emerging before those (‘all gone’) relating to absence.

The child’s language has its origins in simple signals (a bottle signifies eating) and then in indexical relationships (a career with a coat on signi-fies going out). Early words are employed for symbolic reference (dog-gie referring to one specific dog that is present) but later acquire symbol-ic sense (doggie referring to the class of dogs). The child’s productions may show an awareness of means-ends (the word milk gets the child a drink) and limited spatial awareness.

2) Preoperational (2 to 6 or 7 years). The child’s behavior reflects egocen-tric thought: it is unable to identify with the views of others. The child’s language progresses through echolalia (repeating others’ utterances) to monologues (speaking aloud what would normally be private thoughts).

It may engage in collective monologues with other children, in which participants appear to be taking turns, but express their own ideas with-out responding to those of others.

3) Concrete operational (6/7 to 11/12). The child’s vocabulary shows signs of organization into hierarchical categories. It develops the concept of conservation (the recognition that size or quantity is not dependent upon the container) and shows signs of decentration, the ability to consider multiple aspects of a physical problem. It learns to receive and respond to outside ideas.

4) Formal operational (11/12 to adult). The adolescent becomes capable of abstract reasoning. It learns to construct its own argument structures, can represent hypothetical situations and engages mentally and verbally in problem-solving.


 Boden 1979; Field 2004; McShane 1991; Piattelli-Palmarini 1980 cognitive organizer

a term used by Dulay and Burt to refer to that part of the learner’s internal processing system that is responsible for organizing the INPUT into a system.

In document A Dictionary of Language Acquisition_A Comprehensive Overview of Key Terms in First and Second Language Acquisition (Page 66-70)