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Leon's SLA Theory/Method

Leon's "SLA House" Theory of Second Language Acquisition (SLA)


This diagram needs some explaining.

Vocabulary Explained:

Phonetics:  the study of phonemes of a language.  A phoneme is the smallest unit of sound in any language.  For example: the long vowel "a" has two phonemes:  eh + ee.

Phonology: the study of supra-segmental features of a language, especially the prosodic features, such as pitch, pitch movement, loudness, and length of the sounds.

Morphology:  the study of morphemes of a language.  Morphemes are the smallest units of phonemes that have meaning.  For example: the word "dog" has only one morpheme, but the word "dogmatic" has two morphemes:  dogma + tic.

Lexis: the collection of words AND phrases that have many words with ONE meaning in a language.  For example: the phrase "put up with" has ONE meaning: tolerate.  Therefore, "put up with" is ONE lexical item.

Organizational Competence:  the ability to make grammatically correct sentences and the ability to produce cohesive compositions.

Pragmatics (Pragmatic Competence):  the ability to use the appropriate language in the appropriate time and place, and to the appropriate audience.  For example, you don't say "Shut up!" to your father, unless you want a beating.

My Theory Explained:

It is my belief that one must have a good foundation in the phonetics, phonology AND lexis of the language before being able to HEAR them when spoken by native speakers.  AND, it is my belief that in order to be able to have oral competence of a language, one must first listen to it.

Likewise, it is my belief that in order to be able to READ a text, one must first have a strong foundation in the written morphology and written lexis of the language.  AND, it is my belief that in order to be able to have written competence, one must be able to read.

Studies have shown that listening can influence writing and reading can influence speaking.

The teaching of phonetics, phonology, morphology, and lexis should be done bottom-up until one has mastered a basic set of the above.

A basic set might look like this:

phonemes just enough to "hear" the day's lesson
prosodic features just enough to "hear" the day's lesson
morphemes a few
lexis just enough to understand the content of the day's lesson

New phonemes and prosodic features, as well as new morphemes and lexis can be taught in later lessons as they appear in the authentic compositions presented by the teacher.

After a brief tutorial on the content in the table above, the teacher presents an authentic composition produced by natives of the target language.  This is top-down.  Through the top-down method, students can induce the grammatical structure of the language.

After the lesson, the teacher explains in the mother tongue about any possible pragmatics involved in the content of the lesson.

Note:  grammar is not taught bottom-up, but there may be times when consciousness-raising (C-R) is desirable.










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"Love is all there is;  Everything else is entropy." (Leon)