Edited by Peter Robinson
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print Publication Year: 2001
Online Publication Date:October 2012
Chapter DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781139524780.005
Subjects: ELT Applied Linguistics
Language learning is a three-way interaction between the input, the learner, and the interactional context (Bloom, 1974). This three-way interaction provides a general framework for understanding first and second language acquisition (SLA), in both naturalistic and formal contexts. In order to elaborate this general framework, we need to model its three components:
This paper will examine these three components within the framework of the Competition Model (MacWhinney, 1987; MacWhinney & Bates, 1989). To quantify the role of the input in L2 learning, the model relies on the concepts of cue reliability and availability. To characterize the cognitive abilities of the learner, the model relies on findings from cognitive neuroscience. To understand the role of the context, the model elaborates the concepts of environmental and social support. The Competition Model views both L1 and L2 learning as constructive, data-driven processes that rely not on universals of linguistic structure, but on universals of cognitive structure.