THE ROLES OF MOTIVATION AND COMPREHENSIBLE INPUT IN SECOND LANGUAGE ACQUISITION

  1. I.                   INTRODUCTION

 

The success of second language acquisition relies on many factors. According to Gomleksiz (2001), the learner’s cognitive style, socio-economic and cultural background, and the ability to acquire a language, age and motivation of the learner’s can be expressed as the factors affecting second language acquisition. Motivation is considered as one of important factors and many studies have been conducted under this term to see its roles in helping learners acquiring second language. The most influential study was conducted by Gardner (1985), as cited in Rubenfeld et al. (2007)  which states that language learning goals and motives are central concepts in L2 learning research.

Basically, lack of motivation could result in lack of interest in learning L2 which finally will lead to low achievement. Sometimes there are some students in a class who do not pay attention to their teacher or do not involve in learning process. The condition could be due to the lack of motivation. In accordance to what Gomleksiz (2001) asserts that it is very difficult to teach a second language in a learning environment if the learner does not have a desire to learn a language.  It reflects that motivation should be taken into consideration in promoting second language acquisition.

Besides motivation, input in language learning also plays an important role. One of essentials concepts in SLA is the input hypotheses established by Krashen (1981). These hypotheses claim that learners need to have a type of language input which is comprehensible. Students will not be able to learn language without given input. This input should be meaningful so that they can take the most of the learning process. This comprehensible input involves premodified input, interactionally modified input and modified input. (Park, 2002), as cited in Xiaohui (2010). There are also four aspects of classroom talk which are categorised as comprehensible input; metalinguistic input, focused input, scaffolded input, and evaluative input.

 

 

  1. II.                MOTIVATION

 

According to Norris-Holt (2001), motivation is defined as the learner’s orientation with regard to the goal of learning a second language. While Gomleksiz (2001) states that motivation is a kind of desire for learning.  Gardner (1985) as cited in Edmondson (1999) asserts that:

“Motivation involves four aspects: a goal, effortful behaviour, a desire to attain the goal in question, and favourable attitudes towards the activity in question.”

Based on the definitions stated by some experts above, it could be concluded that motivation related to desire and orientation of learning L2 which involve aim, effortful behavior and good attitude to reach the goal. It is in accordance to Dornyei (1994), as cited in Babaee (2012), who states that motivation refers to the attempt and desire to learn a language and a positive attitudes toward learning it.

Language learning model developed by Gardner (1985), cited in Edmondson (1999), started with social context, from which the individual imbues, or inside which the individual develops a set of initial attitudes. The social or cultural milieu refers to the environment in which an individual is situated, thus determining their beliefs about other cultural and language (Norris-Holt, 2001). The model then continued discussing individual differences; intelligence, aptitude, motivation and anxiety. These differences among individuals are considered the most influential factors in second language acquisition. The next step of the model involve formal learning environment and non-formal learning environment. This step refers to setting or context in which learning take place. The individual differences mentioned above are influenced by this setting or context where the learning take place. Intelligence and aptitude tend to play dominant role in formal setting, while anxiety and motivation influnce both setting equally. Learning effects are the last phase of this model. It includes linguistic outcomes and non-linguistic outcomes. Linguistic-outcomes related to language aspect, such as grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation and so on while non-linguistic aspect refers to other things out of language, such as ways of thinking, or attitudes toward cultural values and beliefs.

Gardners Socio-educational Language Learning Model

(Gardner 1985, cited in Edmondson 1999)

Cultural attitudes

 
Social context

 

 

anxiety

motivation

aptitude

intelligence

IndividualDifferences

 

Learning

 

Formal learning environment

 

Non-formal learning environment

Context 

Learning

 

Non-linguistic outcomes

Linguistic outcomes

effects

 

Dornyei (2000) and Dornyei & Otto (2001), cited in Matsumoto (2009), shift the focus of L2 motivation. Their Process Model links motivation research in SLA with educational psychology. One of the important claims in the Process Model is to view L2 learner motivation not being static but continuously changing along with the long process of L2 learning.   There are three phases of learning process; preactional phase, actional phase and postactional phase. These three different phases may cause different motivational actions. At the reactional phase, it is initial motivation which involves goal setting, intention information, and initiation of intention enactment. In the actional phase executive motivation sustains the intended action of learning the language with continuing appraisal of daily learning events, taking various factors into consideration, which leads to persistence of learning. In the post-actional phase, motivational retrospection evaluates learning actions by forming causal attributions, and determines an action for further study.

From a self-determination perspective, motivational orientations are classified as extrinsic and intrinsic motivation (Deci and ryan, 1985), cited in Rubenfeld et al. (2007). Extrinsic motivation refers to motivation that exists because of the presence of “an externally mediated activity or constraint.” This means that the activity is performed, not for the enjoyment of the activity, but in order to gain a reward if the activity is completed or to avoid a negative consequence if the activity is not completed. For example, students are doing their assignment in order not to get punishment from their teacher or in order not to get bad score on the lesson. Intrinsic motivation refers to motivation to fulfill a task that leads to personal enjoyment and control when taking part in the task. For example, students are interested to learn grammar because they want to know how it is different from their L1 then to know how it operates.

Here is the concept of motivation in foreign-language learning based on Dornyei (1990), cited in Edmondson (1999).

 

Instrumental motivational subsystem

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Attributions about past faiilures

 

 

 

Instrumental motivation is characterised by the desire to obtain something practical or concrete from the study of a second language. For example meeting the requirements for school or university graduation, applying for a job, requesting higher salary based on language ability and so on. Integrative motivation refers to the condition when learning a target language, the students like the people that speak that language, admire the culture and have desire to become familiar with or integrate into the society. When someone becomes a resident in a new community that uses the target language in its social interactions, integrative motivation is a key component inassiting the learner to develop some level of proficiency in the language (Norris-holt, 2001).

 

  1. III.             COMPREHENSIBLE INPUT

 

Input is “language addressed to the learner by native speakers or other second language learners” (Ellis, 1985), cited in Edmondson (1999). Language input is something that needs to be taken into consideration for the success of language learning. No individual can learn a second language without input of some sort. In SLA, one of influential theories related to input is the hypothesis introduced by Krashen (1981). It suggests that learners are required to have access to a type of language input which is comprehensible.

 

the roles of acquisition and learning: five hypotheses

(see Krashen 1981, cited in Edmondson 1999)

  1. The acquisition/learning hypothesis

Adults have two distinct  and independent ways of developing competence in a second language

  1. The natural order hypothesis

The acquisition of grammatical structures proceeds in a predictable order.

  1. The monitor hypothesis

Learning has only one function. This is as monitor or editor.

  1. The input hypothesis

Humans acquire language in only one way- by understanding messages or by receiving ‘comprehensible input’.

  1. The affective filter hypothesis

Affective factors can play a negative role in language acquisition- acquires vary with respect to the strength of their ‘affective’ filters.

The first hypothesis states that adults have two distinct and independent ways of developing competence in a second language; acquisition and learning. Language from acquisition can be used spontaneously but language from learning can be used if we have time to think. Language acquisition is stored in language area (left brain) but language learning is not stored in language area. The process of language acquisition is subconscious and natural but the process of learning is conscious and unnatural. The second hypothesis related to the way people learn, from simple to more complicated or from the easy one to more difficult. For example: students learn regular verb of past tense (the use of the ending of “-ed”), then learn irregular verb. Other example: students learn past tense first. Then after they master it, they learn past continuous.

The third hypothesis refers to the use of language learning as monitor. This monitor only happens in learning. If the students have time to think, they will check and monitor their language. Here, they know the rules and focus on form, not meaning. For example student ‘A’ at the beginning of presentation said: “we are discuss about…”. then he corrected it “ we’re going to discuss about …..”. the fourth hypothesis is about input which should be comprehensible. This comprehensible input is “i+1” where “i” means prior knowledge and “+1” is additional knowledge. If there is no “+1”, this input is not comprehensible. Teacher should relate new knowledge they are going to give to students to their prior knowledge so that it will not considered strange thing. The last hypothesis is affective filter hypothesis. Motivation, self-confident and anxiety play  great roles in learning. Students who have high-motivation, high self-confident and low anxiety tend to be successful in learning.

There are some concepts which are categorized as comprehensible input; premodified input, interactionally modified input and modified input. Premodified input refers to the linguistic environment where input has been modified in some way before the learner sees or hears it. Bahrani & Soltani (2012) asserts that:

“Any spoken or written language input can be simplified or modified for the sake of comprehension through providing less difficult vocabulary items and complex syntactic structures which are beyond readers’ acquired language proficiency”

Teachers could provide definitions of difficult vocabulary items, paraphrasing sentences to make it simpler so that the comprehensibility increases.

Interactionally modified input refers to the changes to the target structures or lexicons in a conversation to accomodate potential or actual problems of comprehending a message. According to Long (1980), cited in  Bahrani & Soltani (2012), interactionally modified input emerges when the two parts of a conversation negotiate meaning for comprehension. When they have difficulty in communication, they are able to aacquire new language if they have chance to negotiate. Input started and followed by negotiation will result in comprehensible input. Another comprehensible input is modified input. Modified input occurs as a response to comprehensible input through interaction. Negotiation and modified input works interactionally since the modified output of one learner often works as comprehensible input of another learner.

There are also four aspects of classroom talk which belong to comprehensible input. They are metalinguistic input, focused input, scaffolded input and evaluative input. Metalinguistic input refers to all information included in one learning, not only the linguistic aspect but also involving for example the culture of that language. Metalinguistic input can result in comprehensible input because it involves all aspect of the target language. Focussed input means the learners’ attention is focused on some particular features of the target language (Edmondson, 1999). This simply could be done by giving exercises in which special features or repeated feature of the language is repeated in instance after instance. Scaffplded input basically that the teacher or other learners help an individual learner to say what he or she wants to say. It functions to help learner activates his/her knowledge. The last is evaluative input. It simply means feedback or correction or repair. It allows confirmation and disconfirmation of learners’ belief; answer.

  1. I.                   DISCUSSION

 

Motivation and input are two terms that are influential in second language acquisition. Reece and Walker (1997), as cited in Gomleksiz (2001), express that motivation is a key factor in the second language learning process. They stress that a less able student who is highly motivated can achieve greater success than the  more intelligent student who is not well motivated. Motivation also depends on the social interaction between the teacher and the learner. Teacher should act as motivator for the students. the motivation could be emphasized on the strategy being used which should be of interest among the students. In addition , learning can only happen if certain affective conditions, such as positive attitudes, self- confidence, low anxiety, exist and that when these conditions are present input can pass through the affective filter and be used by the learners.

High-motivation student if given comprehensible input will lead to effective seond language acquisition. It is like he/she has the ‘power’ inside and outside himself/herself to help acquiring second language. Premodified input language learning helps students understand difficult things. By paraphrasing or giving definition will increase their comprehension and understanding. Interactionally modified input through negotiation helps learner make the input comprehensible. Here, they have opportunity to negotiate or interact to check their comprehension. Modified input is also necessary because one output can be another student’s input and what constitutes interaction for one learner serves as potential language input for other learners.

 

  1. II.                CONCLUSION

 

The success of  second language acquisition depends on many factors. Motivation and comprehensible input are two of them and considered as the most influential factors. It has been found that high-motivation student tend to be more successful than those who are not. Comprehensible input also play great role in the effectiveness of second language acquisition. teacher should give the students meaningful input so that they can take the most of it.

 

REFERENCES

Babaee, Naghmeh. 2012. Motivation in Learning English as a Second Language: A Literature Review. Canadian Journal for New Scholars in Education, 4,(1). P.1-7.

Bahrani, T., & Soltani, R. 2012. Language Input and Second Language Acquisition. Journal of Education and Practice, 3, (3). P.39-42

Edmondson, Willis. 1999. Twelve Lectures on Second Language Acquisition: Foreign  Language Teaching and Teaching Perspective. Tubingen: Narr.

Gomleksiz, M.N., 2001. The Effects of Age and Motivation Factors on Second Language Acquisition. Firat University Journal of Social Science,11,(2). p217-224.

Matsumoto, Manasori. 2009. Second Language Learners’ Motivation and their Perceptions of Teachers’ Motivation. Humanities & Social Sciences Papers: paper presented at the international conference on teaching and learning in higher education.

Norris, J-Holt. 2001. Motivation as a Contributing Factor in Second Language Acquisition. The Internet TESL Journal,6, (6).

Rubenfeld et al. 2007. Sceond Language Learning and Acculturation: the Role of Motivation and Goal Content Congruence. Canadian Journal of Applied Linguistic,10, (3). P.309- 323.

Xiaohui, Han. 2010. An Empirical Study on the Effects of Comprehensible Input on Incidental Englsih Vocabulary Recognition. Chinese Journal of Applied Linguistics, 33, (6).p.91-108.

 

 

 

 

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