| Von Glasersfeld's answers - March II 2008  |

 
 
 


QUESTION:
 
Dear Professor,
 
I am currently preparing for an examination in constructivism in language education (radical, cognitive, and social). I am particularly interested in the issue of second language acquisition (SLA) and wonder which theories of SLA are constructivist in nature.
 
I would be grateful if you would help me to solve my problem. Also, I would be happy if you would tell me who I should contact to get information on constructivism in language education.  
 
I look forward to hearing from you in the near future.
 
yours faithfully,
Andrzej Cirocki
 

ANSWER:

Dear Mr. Cirocki,
 
The basis for any theory of second language acquisition should be the distinction between 'compound' and 'coordinate' bilinguals. Compound means that the individual learns both languages in the same experiential environment and therefore learns to attach two linguistic labels to his experiential re-presentations; coordinate means that the individual experiences the languages in separate contexts and therefore the re-presentations are language specific. Foreign language lessons in school necessarily produce incipient compound bilinguals - and the individuals discover just how little they have entered into the language when they travel to country where it is spoken.
I'm attaching a recent paper that may help you.  You will find a summary of my view of language and language acquisition in chapter 7 of my book Radical Constructivism, a way of knowing and learning, Routledge/Falmer, 1995.

 

Best wishes
Ernst von Glasersfeld

 

The Constructist View of Comunication by Ernst von Glasersfeld

 

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