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UNIVERSITY OF EL SALVADOR

SCHOOL OF SCIENCE AND HUMANITIES


FOREIGN LANGUAGE DEPARTMENT



Relevance of Language Intuition in a Near Native Like Performance of English as a Second Language”

Presented by


Cindy Xarelly Romero Reyes

(RR 99-123)



To obtain the degree of


Licenciatura en Idioma Inglés, Opción Enseñanza
Advisor:

MTI.: Pedro Antonio Salazar Murcia


University Campus, April 2005

Authorities


Rector of the University of El Salvador:




Dra. María Isabel Rodriguez

General Secretary of the University of El Salvador:



Licda. Alicia Margarita Rivas de Recinos


Dean of the School of Science and Humanities:



MsD. Ana María Glower de Alvarado



Head of the Department




MTI. Edgar Nicolás Ayala

Coordinator of the Graduation Process:



MTI. Pedro Antonio Salazar Murcia

AKNOWLEDGEMENTS




To my dear parents:


For being a source of encouragement and the persons I am proud of calling my parents during every single day of all these preceding years. Please know I treasure your trustworthy, unconditional love, care and advice. And believe it is your example, which has kept me and will keep me on the track.
To my dear sister:
For exceeding the blood boundaries to be my best friend, the shiny happy star in the midst of the dark clouds; for always having the exact word of inspiration before being asked.
To you my sweet companion:
For always being unselfishly and wholeheartedly there for me in mind, body and spirit.
To my professors:
To those of you who volunteered for such a self sacrificing career, where not to many material prices are accomplished and a lot is demanded. Receive my sincere expressions of thanks for all the knowledge and experience shared.
Special Thanks
To my respected and comprehensive advisor and professor M.T.I. Pedro Antonio Salazar Murcia, whose patience and support tendered made this final graduation project possible.

INTRODUCTION


One of the questions that pops out in our minds once we have started learning a second language is: “Will I ever speak as well as native speaker does?” Teachers and students at the Foreign Language Department at the University of El Salvador may think it as an impossible goal. I am sure the reason of this failure is the emphasis we confer to grammar rules and consciously learned linguistic knowledge while we are performing in the second language. In contrast, native speakers performance, our aim to keep in mind, is based on Language Intuition.
Intuition is the component of our minds, which directs the access to linguistic knowledge with no intermediate stages and “tells” the performer whether he is being accurate in his language production or not. They do not know this because of consciously learned knowledge of grammar rules. They just know it intuitively.
Near native speakers may also develop such a sense for the target language in order to perform as well as a native speaker without the constant consultation of consciously learned grammar rules that take too much of time.

To prove it, this research has followed certain steps to finally present the current essay to the reader. The first step was the elaboration of the profile, where the problem statement was the climax. Afterwards, bibliography and all the theory it was possible to be surrounded with was searched. Not only books of diverse kinds but also the web was faithful companion to this task. This pace did not only reach this point but prevailed with the next phases until the end.


The argumentative essay will be buttressed by Chomsky’s Universal and Generative Grammar Theory, which explains about the Language Acquisition Device, basis to Krashen´s Theory of Acquisition vs. Learning. Moreover, Krashen´s Theory elucidates the means that escort language knowledge into our brains through acquisition. Acquired knowledge is the only kind of acquaintance that allows human entities to perform intuitively in a first and a second language.
Additionally, this essay will be assisted by the results obtained of two surveys completed by near native and native speakers of English. Plus, the essay will show how second language speakers are equipped to acquire language and to perform intuitively. Additionally, it will be exposed that near native speakers are as biological, cognitive and socially ready as young native speakers to perform on behalf of intuition. Likewise, it will be argued that speakers of a L2 are capable to develop a sense for the target language as speakers of L1 because they follow a similar lane to the manner little children

acquire their first tongue and develop language intuition. Finally, there are some authors that claim that full dominion of English as a second language or a developed sense of intuition is unachievable. The essay will attempt to present different alternatives that disagree with the point of view of the quoted authors.


We as native speakers of our language did not have the necessity to learn grammar rules first to produce language and communicate. Second language speakers should take example and not concentrate obstinately on linguistic knowledge. To know about the language on its surface is not enough to convey messages. Intuition is more important.

ARGUMENTATIVE ESSAY


Excerpt

“This essay will claim that a near native like performance of English as a second language is only possible on behalf of language intuition, against the traditional methods and theories of language that still sustain the conscious learning of linguistic knowledge as a main pillar in the teaching-learning process. In this sense, the essay will be assisted by the results obtained of two surveys completed by near native and native speakers of English. Plus, the essay will show how second language speakers are equipped to acquire language and to perform intuitively. Additionally, it will be exposed that near native speakers are as biological, cognitive and socially ready as young native speakers to perform on behalf of intuition. Likewise, it will be argued that speakers of a L2 are capable to develop a sense for the target language as speakers of L1 because they follow a similar lane to the manner little children acquire their first tongue and develop language intuition. Finally, there are some authors that claim that full dominion of English as a second language or a developed sense of intuition is unachievable. The essay will attempt to present different alternatives that disagree with the point of view of the quoted authors.


When a person is telling a joke, a lie or a tale, he is not thinking whether the position of the verb is correct or if he is supposed to use the past progressive or the simple past. He does not pretend to remember every single rule about his native tongue; instead, he has a conceptual metalingual understanding of the language as a system of rules and relationships. As a consequence, a person’s discourse employs a range of syntactical, morphological, etc. regulations. He is not thinking of syntax and pronunciation rules, he conceives the thought and expresses it knowing that his audience will understand his message and at the same time the listeners comprehend and share this system of communication with him. Really amazing is that none of the participants of this interchange of messages is aware of the employment of any of the rules above mentioned. How? It is thanks to intuition.


This essay will specially deal with speakers of English, particularly, with native speakers and near native speakers. Native speakers, who were born in a given culture, immersed in their first language, govern the rules of the spoken language and are skilled to utilize them without paying attention to them while communicating. What's more, they know the appropriate use of language in social circumstances. They perform under the wings of intuition. In the case of a near native speaker, born in her culture with her own first language, but willing to govern a second one, expects to use the Second language creatively and, as a native speaker. In other words, she is willing to possess an intuitive grasp of the linguistic, cognitive, affective and socio-cultural meanings expressed by the different language forms. Briefly, any student of a foreign language wants to exploit it as a native speaker would. The answer to their petition is an intuitive sense for the target tongue.
Traditionally, students at the department of Foreign Languages at the University of El Salvador are taught that a near native like performance on English as a second language is generally reached after lots of practice based on conscious learned grammar rules. Though, teachers intend to follow communicative methods and language learning theories, they tend to focus on conscious grammatical form and linguistic knowledge is still relevant to the English class. Results demonstrate that the current methodology is not as effective as desired. In contrast, Language Intuition engenders successful native speakers. Therefore, this essay will assert that a near native like performance of English as a second language is only possible on behalf of “Sprachgefühl”, against the traditional methods and theories of language that still sustain conscious learning of linguistic knowledge as a main pillar in the acquisitional process.
Many scholars continue to disagree with the idea of intuition working in our minds to solve everyday problems. It is not the purpose of this essay to prove that intuition works like that but it is to reveal the importance of “Sprachgefühl” for Second Language speakers. To demonstrate it, it is necessary to observe the fact as a physics researcher would do when proving the force of gravity by throwing into the air a ball and watch it fall. Intuition is not to be seen, but so is gravity. The physics teacher may prove to his students the existence of such a force by showing its effect on a ball. So, “Sprachegefühl” will be observed and proven on what it actually works: language. Even so, language needs also to be seen through performance.
Gnostics and psychologists agree that intuition is a quick path to knowledge and its appliance, and that it can be seen in every aspect of life. Also in language. German linguists call “Sprachgefühl” (from German “Sprache” –language and “Gefühl”+-feeling/ sense) to the “feeling for language”, “an instinctive appreciation for word and idioms that are linguistically appropriate.” The American Heritage Dictionary of the English language continues to describe it as “an ear for idiomatically correct or appropriate”. It is possible to say, that “Sprachegefühl” acts for language as intuition for the rest of the things.
Intuition is what enables First as well as Second language speakers to communicate without paying attention to consciously learned rules. A person who learns a language will have communication as his primary goal. Against the common practice, to know the structure of a language is not enough to share and receive messages. The source or speaker and the destiny or listener treasure in their brains what for centuries has been called grammar. All the same, it is only a name given to a subconscious knowledge stored in the module of the human brain. Persons do not speak because grammar rules exist. Instead, it is because society members communicate under the flag of an instinctively well-organized language that students at universities take grammar courses.
Consequently, a radio listener will not understand any radio show if he does not have the subconscious acquired knowledge plus the possibility to use and employ it suitably. The sense for a language is what empowers the speaker to intuitively decide what is correct or wrong in a matter of 1/ 100 seconds. The process of consulting the acquired knowledge takes so little since it is not consciously but subconsciously done. Let’s have an example. A girl is telling her mother about an incident at school. She says: “As I was walking through the door, the boy run into me and both of us felt on the floor.” The kid is making use of the rule that states that she should use the past continues to describe a continuous action in the past, and to use the simple past to state the specific actions that already ended while she was doing that unbroken action in the past. She is making use of the rule but she is not aware of it or of something called simple past or past continuous. If she knew the rule, it would take her too long to recall and apply it. As a substitute, her intuition took the work of doing it in a matter of a millisecond.
Chomsky believed that children must be innately equipped with a plan common to grammar of all languages, a Universal Grammar that tells them how to “distil” the syntactic patterns. He calls it the Language Acquisition Device, an innate component of the human mind that yields a particular language through interaction with presented experience into a language device that converts experience into a system of knowledge attained, knowledge of one or another language. Children are equipped with such a language device because it is a matter of survival. Had children not such an apparatus, there is no doubt our society would be built on different basis and life would not be as we know it. Communication is foundation to society, and language makes communication possible. Also, abstract thinking is intimately related to language. Imagine how different everything would be if our means of communication were not as effective as they are or how much quantity and quality of life affecting knowledge would be missing if humans had not the capacity to think in abstract.
Based on Chomsky’s theory about the Universal Grammar, and the Language Acquisition Device, adults learning a second language, who have learned a first language thanks to the innate mechanism, would also be prepared or equipped to learn a second language as skilfully as his first one. Chomsky supposes that the mind contains a prototypical framework, a set of kinds of rules on which any natural language grammar can be built and that being required to obey some of the allowable sets of rules sufficiently constrains the problem that a child, and a second language learner can solve it. Dumais Landauer describes Chomsky’s theory as a “language instinct position”, which he considers debatable, and yet acknowledges that: “it rests on an idea that is surely correct, that some powerful mechanism exists in the minds of children that can use the finite information they receive to turn into competent users of human language. 1
The language acquisition device converts language experience into a system of knowledge to transform the acquirer into a competent speaker. Hence, the language acquisition device enables potential speakers to acquire language, but it is intuition, a resulting knowledge that results from experience acquired without being conscious the intermediate stages of development, that making use of the cumulus of knowledge stored in the brain’s module consents to have the “feeling” of what is right and wrong, “Sprachgefühl”. If language intuition did not exist, this by definition means we would always know explicitly the basis for our language performance.
Consider yourself, as you are speaking, are you every moment conscious of what grammar rule you are employing? Don’t you rather forget about them and focus on your message? I’m sure you do. According to the information collected with the surveys for near native and native speakers, both groups tend to perform orally without paying attention to underlying rules. However, near native speakers are inclined to consult more often their consciously learned knowledge than natives do. The problem with most of us second language students is that we give consciously learned linguistic knowledge too much of our preference. Grammar is likely to remain unchanged and is a piece of firm land in the middle of our insecurity in the second language. Instead, second language speakers should develop Language Intuition by just trusting and leaving it lead their performance.
Second Language Speakers are as well equipped with a language acquisition device as first acquirers. They are also as biologically, socially and cognitively ready to acquire a language as native speakers. If this is correct, there should not be an inherent impediment to speak as a native speaker utilizing their feeling for language. Paula Menyuk has described how human infants are designed to acquire language. She divides it into Biological, Social and Cognitive readiness.
Yet, Second Language Speakers are as well biologically set up as native speakers might be. Kids are provided with a structurally unique vocal mechanism, a uniquely functioning auditory system, and a structurally unique and uniquely functioning brain. In spite of being an older subject intending to acquire a second tongue, it is highly improvable that her auditory system and her structurally unique and uniquely functioning brain atrophies. This, because they are in constant use as the individual communicates orally in the first language, which has been acquired thanks to the same Language Acquisition Device that activated acquisition for a native language acquirer of English. Additionally, it is exceedingly improvable that humans lose the capacity to acquire a new system of communication if they are constantly increasing their own by using the same mechanisms to acquire language. Ancient wisdom affirms that you never stop learning, not even the mother tongue.
Human infants are born with the cognitive aptitude to develop the ability to relate auditory and visual information and the ability to imitate. Both aptitudes depend on memory to mature. Researchers believed them important precursors to the development of language. Second language learners do also keep these abilities while they are growing. Otherwise it would be impossible to learn. It is known that it is easier to learn any new knowledge, no matter the age, if the new information is presented to the different senses, the ear, smell, taste, tact, vision. Such a fact implies that at any stage of life the cognitive abilities are ready to relate auditory, visual information as little babies would do.
Language is acquired in the midst of a social environment. If there were no opportunities for a baby to interact with other speaking human beings, that baby would ever acquire language. Social readiness depends not only on interaction, but also on either innate structures or functions of predispositions. It is known that second language speakers increase their proficiency faster in a foreign language if they dwell as much as possible in the midst where the target language is spoken. In conclusion, the language experience that social interaction permits is vital to babies and foreign language acquirers.
The alliance of the three aspects of readiness combine to produce a communicating individual, not only as a baby acquiring a first language but also as an older individual who dominates a first language attempting to acquire a second language, since the abilities that allow infants to acquire their first language are not lost with time. This idea includes the development of a sense for language inherent to natural acquirers of the first tongue.
Everyone has observed how rapidly and quick without formal instruction children develop the complex grammar and grow up to give consistent interpretation to novel sentence construction that they have never before encountered. This observable fact is not only reserved to first acquiring language toddlers. Compatriots who have crossed the untamed waters of the “Rio Grande” and escaped more than one vicissitude to conquer the “American dream”, without formal training of English manage to acquire the new tongue and make their way in the alien land.
Up to now it is possible to affirm that persons learning a second language are as well equipped to accomplish a target tongue as new born children are. This leads to the thought that if young children develop intuition to accurately perform in their mother tongue, there should be no impediment for second language acquirers to develop it as well.
Chomsky refers2 to - the language faculty- with its specific properties, structure and organization, one “module” of the mind. Still, language knowledge and all its implications do not sprout into human brains. Babies are not born speaking. What are the means of knowledge to reach the language module in man’s brain? Acquisition of Language is the answer.
Ricardo Schütz says that language acquisition refers to the process of natural assimilation, involving intuition and subconscious learning, which is the product of real interactions between people where the learner is an active participant. In addition, Krashen assures that language acquisition takes place through comprehension. In other words, the student is beginning to really acquire the language when he understands a message in the language containing the structure, by experiencing it, and not by learning actual rules of how to compose speech.
Intuition holds up the process of acquisition. Subconscious acquisition is, according to Krashen, a process that facilitates the acquisition of rules at a subconscious level. Meantime, “intuition is an immediate ‘information’ without an objectively interposed intermediary; it is the only act by which the knowing faculty models itself, not on an abstract likeness of the object, but on the object itself; it is, if you will, the strict coincidence, the common line of contact of the knowing subject and object” 3. Therefore, intuition is the strict coincidence between a person (the knowing subject) and language (object), without going through the learning of grammar rules which represent an abstract likeness of the language, but it is a knowledge subconsciously acquired.
Experience is an important factor in the acquisition of a language and the development of an intuitional feeling for that particular tongue. There is even the theory of Experience as Intuition, which considers experience as an immediate relationship to the individual object. Subsequently, Intuition is the resulting knowledge of the acquired experience that is quickly obtained without the individual being conscious the intermediate stages of reason. This makes clarifies that by experiencing language, comprehending, having as much contact with it as possible by listening, speaking, reading and even writing it, a sense for language is developed. It is an exclusive result of acquired knowledge and not learned knowledge.

Little babies experience language since they are embryos. They are listening to their mother’s voice and to everyone surrounding her even before the little ones have seen daylight. This continual exposure to language is what they need to develop an intuitional sense for language. The Language Acquisition Device present in every child’s brain module will be responsible to subconsciously acquire as much knowledge as possible in order to develop the feeling of right and wrong. A common example of this is when children starting the acquisitional process in Spanish say “ponido” instead of “puesto”. Their intuition tells them to produce “ponido” because other verbs applied in such occasions would be conjugated by just adding the suffix “-ido”. This time the production was mistaken but because “poner” is an irregular verb. Here is where conscious knowledge will play a part in order to polish the ultimate performance, again, not to produce communication just to make it gleam.


The same should happen to Near Native Speakers, who after being exposed to language in multiple forms will close stages by communicating under the influence of the developed intuition. Regarding the interviewed near native speakers, it was observed that they rely on intuition as native speakers do. Likewise, we confirmed that near native speakers bring into play conscious learned linguistic knowledge to give their message a shimmer finishing in the target tongue. Nevertheless, near native speakers have a tendency to check on their grammar accuracy more than native speakers do. An explanation to this could be that the majority of the interviewees are grammar-accuracy English teachers. Surprisingly, native speakers, against my former belief, consult grammar almost as often as near native speakers do. Curious was the resemblance of difficulty and mistakes for both groups. Although , native speakers did usually better, with occasional surprises of near native speakers, unexpectedly, the two groups committed mistakes alike, chose similar options as answers, and the degree of difficulty of certain items was equal to both groups.
In spite of this vision of success, H. H. Stern in his “Fundamental Concepts of Language” states that “complete competence, whatever its definition, is hardly ever reached by Second Language learners.” It is feasible to propose that intuition for Near Native Speakers will never succeed to produce a native like speech. Four researchers sustain their point of view on the subject and explain some of the possible reasons. I will intend to propose an alternative to their positions.

Steven Pinker holds an interesting hypothesis, called the “Innate Hypothesis”. David Nunan explains about Pinker’s hypothesis: “It suggests that the ability to acquire language is a facility unique to the human species. We inherit this ability genetically in the same way as other species inherit such things as the ability to migrate to certain parts of the world to mate and breed.”4 Pinker says it in his own words: “The workings of language are as far from our awareness as the rationale for egg-laying is for the flies. Our thoughts come out of our mouths so effortlessly that they often embarrass us, having eluded our mental censors. When we are comprehending sentences, the stream of words is transparent”5. Pinker reserves this to first language acquisitionists. He enlightens that “comparatively few individuals who begin the study of a L2 after they have mastered a first language ever develop the equivalent on native mastery”.


Nonetheless, according to David Nunan, Pinker’s point of view is subjective and more based on his own perception of a phenomenon than on any study6. If his theory were correct, how could he prove that such a device of instinct is erased and would not act on the acquisition of a second language? A second language learner living in Australia needs English more than his first language. Instincts are a matter of survival. As animal’s instincts are proven to evolve to adapt to the changing environment, humans could also evolve their instinct of language to master a target language. An example of this might be a problem presented in an essay regarding articles in German. German uses three demonstrative articles, der-for masculine, die –for feminine, das- for neutral words. Fortunately, they do not exist in English. The problem arises when globalization conquered communications introduce many Anglicism into the Germanic tongue. The author of the essay explains that there is nothing but intuition to rule the gender of the lacking article glued words arrived from English. Nobody is capable to reason why the German people chose to say “das T- Shirt” and “der Short”. They needed an article for the Anglo-words in order to use them in accordance to the rest of the grammar (the gender of an object is basic for the 4 different declinations used in German). Intuition helped in the need.
We may benefit from our interviewed population as an example of the existence of intuition in the performance of second language speakers. As they where completing the native like selection part of the survey (items 8-15 in the near native speakers instrument), none of the participants recalled any grammar rule knowledge, instead, they were observed to ask themselves what sounded better in the case of doubt.
Second Language Acquisition does not happen as often as native language acquisition does. Yet, it may represent to a foreigner in the target culture or working for a multinational in his hometown an element as important for survival as a native language is. In consequence, Second Language speakers’ competence and performance need to be as accurate and close to a native speaker’s competence and performance as possible. No child is born with a discourse flourishing out of her mouth. Indeed, the most elemental sounds will be acquired during the first steps of her development and that chat may develop into discourses as elaborated as Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s speech before the House of Commons on June 1940 setting it on uproar.
The second opinion regards first and second language acquisitional order. Researchers like Dulay and Burt (1974a-194b) began with the premise that first language (L1) and second language (L2) acquisition followed the same process. If they were the same process, it would be precise to conclude that L2 learners should acquire the target language as little children acquire their first in order to reach native like fluency and develop the intuitive sense on language that children master in their mother tongue. If this is not the case, it is obvious that L2 students were forced to follow their own route.
Dulay and Burt concluded that even children learning a Second Language were usually older that L1 learners, which implied a larger cognitive development, and that they had experienced a language once before. These factors would combine to make the process of acquiring a Language somewhat different for First and Second Language learners7. Based on these outcomes it is impossible to deny that the course to reach a mastery of a language between L1 and L2 learners is different. Yet, it was revealed that both, first and second language acquirers, follow a natural order when acquiring a system of communication, somewhat different, but unfeasible to alter. Even though, not enough work has been done up till now to determine the specific reasons underlying the divergence, it is reasonable to infer that both sorts of brain bind the conditions to acquire a new language, given that they are prepared to acquire in the order they are preconceived to do so. It can also be added that the natural order difference does not hinder Second Language speakers to reach their objective. The results of the instrument remain as evidence that near native speakers are in the track to master it under the intuitive sense as native speakers. The trail might be dissimilar, even longer but not impossible to accomplish.
The third opinion is sustained by Lennenberg´s (1967) Critical Period hypothesis. It proposes biological changes of the brain around puberty that result in the two hemispheres of the brain functioning independently. After this neurological change takes place, acquiring native-like competence in a L2 becomes difficult8. Although it seems to explain the common idea that children learn easier than adults, the hypothesis has been criticized with the development of technology that allows scientist to map mental activity.9 In addition, Ellis (1985) points out that it is only partially correct to affirm that acquisition is easier for children since pronunciation is the only area where the younger a student starts the better. He adds that the hypothesis fails to explain why the loss of plasticity only affects pronunciation.
Nunan claims that the starting age does not affect the route of SLA. Yet, he does not deny that the starting age affects the rate of learning. Also, when grammar and vocabulary are concerned, adolescent learners do better than either children or adults, when the length of exposure is held constant10. Furthermore, Snow and Hoefnagel Hohle carried out a study regarding the performance of three groups: children, adolescents (12-15 years) and adults. They concluded that on practically all measures, including discrimination and production of speech, vocabulary comprehension, aspects of sentence production and recall of stories, the older subjects did better than the younger ones. They also took notice on the fact that the one measure in which there was little change over the age period was pronunciation. So, it is possible to concur with the idea that the Critical Period Hypothesis only obstructs minimally the acquisition of complete competence, since it does not explain why the loss of plasticity around puberty only interferes with pronunciation, that in fact, it is only pronunciation, the skill to be affected, that the final performance of young and adults is similar and even in certain areas adults do better than children. To end with the Critical Period Hypothesis, the results of the instruments corroborate that pronunciation does not remain constant. The nationalities of the native speakers that took part in the instrument varied between Australians, North Americans (Canada and USA), and New Zealanders. It was expected that the ones with different origins had different accents. Astonishingly, none of their productions coincided a 100% with the dictionary’s sound guide or among themselves, not even three of them who came from Seattle, Washington in the USA. If accent is indeed so different from individual to individual it is not really so relevant to achieve a native like accent. Imagine we would acquire a 100% Alabama accent, it would represent little relief if we converse with and Indian companion fluent in English and Mangal.
Finally, Earl Stewick in his “Teaching and Learning Languages shows an example of a Second Language Student having a conversation with a native speaker who asks when meeting his foreign companion: “How are you?” The non native student said “thank you” and just continued on the conversation instead of answering “fine” or “good”. The author explains that the English student did not know that fine or a synonym was required when being questioned: “How are you?” due to the fact that in his home culture it is completely normal to respond with thank you. This is an example of the native culture and language interfering in the target language. It has also been observed that sometimes the Second language speaker will translate literally phrases from his native tongue into the target language that will not make any sense. For example, it happens to French native speakers learning Spanish to say: “¿Cómo se pasa?” instead of the commonly said “¿Cómo estás?”, since they literally translate from the French “Common ça est passe t-il?” It is important to clarify that beginners produced both examples. Not that an advance student will not have problems with momentary flaps but they will diminish as he continues to submerge into the new language.
Emotions may also affect a near native speaker’s performance. Nervousness, anxiety, stress, may have an effect on grammatical, syntactical, etc. accuracy. Hector Hammerly deduces that frequently, the sound system, the rules and elements are not completely mastered. This results in what he calls “fossilizations” of the learner’s system (Selinker and Lamendella 1978) which refers to the fact that errors in the target language remain in the speaker’s system, which are difficult to get rid off, but not impossible. In addition, Hammerly attaches the idea that errors that had apparently been overcome can recur as backslidings under conditions of stress, anxiety, etc11. The “Introduction to Linguistics” from the University of Delaware (USA) includes the information of interference from one’s native phonology, morphology and Syntax as creator of difficulties that may persist as a foreign accent in phonology and in the use of non-native syntactic rules12. Nevertheless, this phenomenon is not only reserved to Second language speakers. A twelve-year-old student, encouraged by his teacher to share about his science project before all his fellow students, may testify the intricacy of his native language when not being able to articulate properly a single word.
Bilinguals endure similar difficulties as Native Speakers would, in addition to the interference of the foreigners´ native tongue when producing in the acquired vernacular. Also, it is undeniable that the process to acquire a language between second language and native language acquirers is different as showed Dulay, Burt and Krashen’s study on the Acquisitional Order. In spite of this, their goal is the same, to master the target language in such a manner that the expression of ideas has a free road to flow. Henry Kissinger, a United States chancellor of German roots, was said to be a better orator than any of his colleagues in spite of the heavy Germanic accent soaking his interventions. Anyhow, language intuition on English was without a question proceeding in his case as actively as it was taking place in Macarthur’s discourse when abandoning the Philippines promising he would be back.
In conclusion, we may summarize that the Language Acquisition Device, Competence, Performance and “Sprachgefühl” work hand in hand to obtain a proficient system of communication. The Language Acquisition Device subconsciously captures language knowledge, Competence is the faculty relying in human brains, performance relies on that competence to show the world the speakers proficiency in the target language and it is “Sprachgefühl” the subconscious process that helps knowledge head intuitively into the brain’s module and the one which permits performers speak accurately based on the knowledge that thanks to Language Acquisition Device is stored as Competence in the minds module.


1 Dumais, Susan Landauer, Thomas, A Solution to Plato´s Problem, http://lsa.colorado.edu/papers/plato/plato.annote.html

2 Noam Chomky, Knowledge of Language Nature, Origin and Use, Copyright 1986

3 Ricardo Schütz, Stephen Krashen´s theory of 2nd Language Acquisition, 30 de enero de 2002

4 Nunan, David « Second Language Teaching and Learning » Heinle & Heinle, 1st edition, 1998, p 40

5 Pinker, Steven, Excerp from « The language instinct: How the mind creates Language”.

6 Nunan, David « Second Language Teaching and Learning » Heinle & Heinle, 1st edition, 1998

7 Nunan, David « Second Language Teaching and Learning » Heinle & Heinle, 1st edition, 1998, p 39

8 Nunan, David « Second Language Teaching and Learning » Heinle & Heinle, 1st edition, 1998, p 41

9 Nunan, David « Second Language Teaching and Learning » Heinle & Heinle, 1st edition, 1998

10 Nunan, David « Second Language Teaching and Learning » Heinle & Heinle, 1st edition, 1998,

11 Hector Hammerly, Synthesis in Language Teaching, SLP Editorial, copyright 1986

12 Ling 101 Introduction to Linguistics, Chaper 8 Language Acquisition, http://www.ling.udel.edu/arena/acquisition.html



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