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Abram Chernov
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The Secrets of Language Learning Revealed by Lightbown and Spada (PDF Version)



How Languages Are Learned: A Review of Lightbown and Spada's Book




If you are a language teacher or learner who wants to understand how languages are learned, you might be interested in reading How Languages Are Learned, a book by Patsy M. Lightbown and Nina Spada. In this article, I will give you an overview of what the book is about, who the authors are, why the book is important, what are the main chapters, what are the strengths and weaknesses of the book, and what are some frequently asked questions about it.




How Languages Are Learned Lightbown Pdf 67 chicas blink diablo



Introduction




How Languages Are Learned is a book that provides an introduction to research in language acquisition and its relationship with classroom practice. It covers topics such as first and second language learning, individual differences, explanations, observation, instruction, popular ideas, etc. The book is written for language teachers and learners who want to learn more about how languages are learned, and how this knowledge can help them improve their teaching and learning.


The authors of the book are Patsy M. Lightbown and Nina Spada, who are both professors emeritus of applied linguistics at Concordia University in Canada. They have worked for over four decades in second language research and education, and they are highly respected worldwide for making theory and research about language learning accessible and relevant to classroom teaching. They have also written other books and articles on language learning and teaching, such as Focus on Content-Based Language Teaching and Focus on Form in Classroom Second Language Acquisition.


The book is important for language teachers and learners because it helps them understand how languages are learned, and how this understanding can inform their decisions and actions in the classroom. The book also helps them develop a critical and reflective approach to language learning and teaching, by presenting different perspectives, evidence, arguments, and implications. The book also provides useful activities, questions, summaries, glossary, and references for further reading and exploration.


Summary of the main chapters




The book consists of seven chapters, each focusing on a different aspect of language learning. Here is a brief summary of each chapter:


Chapter 1: Language learning in early childhood




This chapter discusses how children acquire their first language, what are the main stages and characteristics of language development, and what are the implications for second language learning. The chapter covers topics such as:



  • The biological basis of language acquisition



  • The role of input and interaction in language development



  • The stages of phonological, lexical, grammatical, pragmatic, and sociolinguistic development



  • The similarities and differences between first and second language acquisition



  • The critical period hypothesis and its challenges



  • The transfer of skills and knowledge from the first to the second language



Chapter 2: Second language learning




This chapter discusses how adults and children differ in learning a second language, what are the main factors that affect second language learning, and what are the main theories and models of second language acquisition. The chapter covers topics such as:



  • The effects of age, exposure, motivation, attitude, aptitude, personality, etc. on second language learning



  • The interlanguage system and its features (e.g., fossilization, variability, overgeneralization, etc.)



  • The role of input, output, interaction, feedback, noticing, etc. in second language learning



  • The cognitive processes involved in second language learning (e.g., memory, attention, processing, etc.)



  • The main theories and models of second language acquisition (e.g., behaviorism, innatism, interactionism, connectionism, sociocultural theory, etc.)



Chapter 3: Individual differences in second language learning




This chapter discusses how learners vary in their motivation, aptitude, personality, learning styles and strategies, and how these factors influence second language learning outcomes. The chapter covers topics such as:



  • The definitions and measurements of motivation, aptitude, personality, learning styles and strategies



  • The types and sources of motivation (e.g., integrative vs. instrumental; intrinsic vs. extrinsic; self-determination theory; etc.)



  • The components and correlates of aptitude (e.g., phonemic coding ability; grammatical sensitivity; memory; etc.)



  • The dimensions and effects of personality (e.g., extraversion vs. introversion; openness vs. closedness; etc.)



  • The preferences and patterns of learning styles (e.g., visual vs. auditory; analytic vs. global; field-dependent vs. field-independent; etc.)



  • The types and functions of learning strategies (e.g., cognitive vs. metacognitive; direct vs. indirect; etc.)



  • The ways to adapt to individual differences in the classroom (e.g., differentiated instruction; learner autonomy; etc.)



Chapter 4: Explaining second language learning




This chapter discusses what are the main approaches to explaining how languages are learned, what are the strengths and weaknesses of each approach, and how can teachers and learners benefit from understanding different explanations. The chapter covers topics such as:



  • The contrastive analysis hypothesis and its limitations (e.g., the difficulty of predicting errors; the role of universal grammar; etc.)



  • The error analysis approach and its contributions (e.g., the identification of interlanguage features; the distinction between errors and mistakes; etc.)



Chapter 4: Explaining second language learning




This chapter discusses what are the main approaches to explaining how languages are learned, what are the strengths and weaknesses of each approach, and how can teachers and learners benefit from understanding different explanations. The chapter covers topics such as:



  • The contrastive analysis hypothesis and its limitations (e.g., the difficulty of predicting errors; the role of universal grammar; etc.)



  • The error analysis approach and its contributions (e.g., the identification of interlanguage features; the distinction between errors and mistakes; etc.)



  • The interlanguage hypothesis and its extensions (e.g., the concept of fossilization; the role of social context; etc.)



  • The monitor model and its criticisms (e.g., the distinction between acquisition and learning; the role of input and output; etc.)



  • The universal grammar theory and its challenges (e.g., the definition of parameters; the role of positive evidence; etc.)



  • The connectionist model and its implications (e.g., the representation of language as a network; the role of frequency and similarity; etc.)



  • The sociocultural theory and its applications (e.g., the concept of zone of proximal development; the role of scaffolding and mediation; etc.)



Chapter 5: Observing learning and teaching in the second language classroom




This chapter discusses what are the main methods and techniques for observing and researching second language learning and teaching, what are the advantages and disadvantages of each method and technique, and how can teachers and learners use observation and research to improve their practice. The chapter covers topics such as:



  • The types and purposes of observation (e.g., descriptive vs. evaluative; formative vs. summative; etc.)



  • The methods and tools of observation (e.g., checklists, rating scales, questionnaires, interviews, etc.)



  • The types and designs of research (e.g., quantitative vs. qualitative; experimental vs. non-experimental; etc.)



  • The methods and tools of research (e.g., tests, surveys, case studies, ethnography, etc.)



  • The ethical issues and challenges of observation and research (e.g., informed consent, confidentiality, validity, reliability, etc.)



  • The ways to interpret and report observation and research findings (e.g., descriptive statistics, inferential statistics, graphs, tables, etc.)



  • The ways to use observation and research findings to inform practice (e.g., action research, reflective teaching, teacher development, etc.)



Chapter 6: Second language learning in the classroom




This chapter discusses what are the main types and goals of second language instruction, what are the main principles and features of communicative language teaching, and what are the main challenges and issues in implementing communicative language teaching. The chapter covers topics such as:



  • The types and goals of second language instruction (e.g., general vs. specific; academic vs. vocational; etc.)



  • The principles and features of communicative language teaching (e.g., communicative competence; task-based learning; learner-centeredness; etc.)



  • The challenges and issues in implementing communicative language teaching (e.g., curriculum design; materials development; assessment; teacher education; etc.)



  • The alternatives and complements to communicative language teaching (e.g., content-based instruction; focus on form; learner autonomy; etc.)



Chapter 7: Popular ideas about language learning revisited




This chapter discusses what are some of the common beliefs and myths about language learning, what does research say about these beliefs and myths, and how can teachers and learners critically evaluate popular ideas about language learning. The chapter covers topics such as:



  • The beliefs and myths about language learning (e.g., younger is better; more exposure is better; native speakers are better teachers; grammar is not important; etc.)



Chapter 7: Popular ideas about language learning revisited




This chapter discusses what are some of the common beliefs and myths about language learning, what does research say about these beliefs and myths, and how can teachers and learners critically evaluate popular ideas about language learning. The chapter covers topics such as:



  • The beliefs and myths about language learning (e.g., younger is better; more exposure is better; native speakers are better teachers; grammar is not important; etc.)



  • The research evidence for or against these beliefs and myths (e.g., age effects; input quantity and quality; teacher characteristics; focus on form; etc.)



  • The reasons and sources of these beliefs and myths (e.g., personal experience; media influence; cultural stereotypes; etc.)



  • The ways to challenge and change these beliefs and myths (e.g., raising awareness; providing feedback; encouraging reflection; etc.)



Evaluation of the book




In this section, I will evaluate the book in terms of its strengths and weaknesses, based on my own reading and opinion.


Strengths




The book has many strengths that make it a valuable and enjoyable read for language teachers and learners. Some of these strengths are:



  • Clear and accessible writing style: The book is written in a way that is easy to understand and follow, without being too simplistic or technical. The authors use examples, anecdotes, metaphors, and humor to illustrate their points and engage the readers.



  • Comprehensive and up-to-date coverage of topics: The book covers a wide range of topics that are relevant and interesting for language teachers and learners, such as first and second language acquisition, individual differences, explanations, observation, instruction, popular ideas, etc. The book also reflects the latest research and developments in the field of language learning and teaching, such as the fifth edition that was published in 2021.



  • Balanced and critical perspective on research and practice: The book does not present one single or definitive view on how languages are learned, but rather shows different perspectives, evidence, arguments, and implications. The book also encourages readers to think critically and reflectively about their own beliefs and practices, and to evaluate the strengths and limitations of different approaches.



  • Useful activities, questions, summaries, glossary and references: The book provides many useful features that help readers to check their understanding, apply their knowledge, deepen their learning, and explore further. Each chapter has activities and questions for reflection that can be done individually or in groups. Each chapter also has a summary that highlights the main points. The book also has a glossary that explains key terms, and a list of references that suggests further reading.



Weaknesses




The book also has some weaknesses that could be improved or addressed in future editions. Some of these weaknesses are:



  • Limited focus on multilingualism and diversity: The book mainly focuses on bilingualism as the norm for language learning, and does not discuss much about multilingualism or plurilingualism as alternative or complementary ways of understanding language learning. The book also does not address much the issues of diversity and inclusion that affect language learners from different backgrounds, cultures, identities, etc.



Weaknesses




The book also has some weaknesses that could be improved or addressed in future editions. Some of these weaknesses are:



  • Limited focus on multilingualism and diversity: The book mainly focuses on bilingualism as the norm for language learning, and does not discuss much about multilingualism or plurilingualism as alternative or complementary ways of understanding language learning. The book also does not address much the issues of diversity and inclusion that affect language learners from different backgrounds, cultures, identities, etc.



  • Limited discussion of technology and innovation: The book does not discuss much about the role of technology and innovation in language learning and teaching, such as online platforms, digital tools, mobile devices, gamification, artificial intelligence, etc. The book also does not explore much the opportunities and challenges that technology and innovation bring to language learning and teaching, such as access, equity, quality, autonomy, collaboration, etc.



  • Limited examples of classroom practice and learner data: The book provides some examples of classroom practice and learner data to illustrate the topics discussed, but they are not very frequent or diverse. The book could benefit from more examples that show how different topics are applied or manifested in different contexts, levels, languages, etc. The book could also use more examples that show how learners' voices and experiences are taken into account in language learning and teaching.



Conclusion




In conclusion, How Languages Are Learned is a book that provides a comprehensive and accessible introduction to research in language acquisition and its relationship with classroom practice. The book covers a wide range of topics that are relevant and interesting for language teachers and learners, such as first and second language learning, individual differences, explanations, observation, instruction, popular ideas, etc. The book also presents a balanced and critical perspective on research and practice, and provides useful features that help readers to check their understanding, apply their knowledge, deepen their learning, and explore further. The book has some weaknesses that could be improved or addressed in future editions, such as limited focus on multilingualism and diversity, limited discussion of technology and innovation, and limited examples of classroom practice and learner data. However, these weaknesses do not diminish the overall value and quality of the book. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn more about how languages are learned, and how this knowledge can help them improve their teaching and learning.


FAQs




Here are some frequently asked questions about the book:



  • Where can I find the PDF version of the book?



You can find the PDF version of the book on the Oxford University Press website: https://global.oup.com/academic/product/how-languages-are-learned-9780194541294?cc=us&lang=en&#


  • How can I cite the book in my academic work?



You can cite the book using the following format (APA style): Lightbown P.M., & Spada N. (2021). How languages are learned (5th ed.). Oxford University Press.


  • How can I contact the authors of the book?



You can contact the authors of the book by email: Patsy M. Lightbown (patsy.lightbown@concordia.ca) and Nina Spada (nina.spada@utoronto.ca).


  • How can I access the supplementary materials for the book online?



You can access the supplementary materials for the book online on the Oxford University Press website: https://elt.oup.com/feature/global/how_languages_are_learned/?cc=us&selLanguage=en&#


  • How can I get a copy of the fifth edition of the book?



You can get a copy of the fifth edition of the book by ordering it online from various retailers such as Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/How-Languages-Are-Learned-5e/dp/0194541290/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=how+languages+are+learned&qid=1638290506&sr=8-1


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