martes, 19 de mayo de 2015

Another useful video about grammar!

Hello you all! It's been a loooong time since I published the last entry in the blog. Today I was looking for a video about simple present tense and I found a very good one which presents the main features of it and It's quite clear. I showed this video to my student once he had worked a lot on this topic, not at the beginning since the video goes straight to the point and does not allow students to "explore" or make their own conclusions first.  I used it as a kind of reinforcement and for clarification/organization of ideas. The video contains the three main structures of simple present (aff, neg, int) and provides examples of these structures accompanied by very funny cartoons. It also shows rules for the 3rd person singular -S + examples. Well, I'll stop writing and I will let you check it by yourselves. I hope it'll be useful for your lessons as It was for mines.
Have a nice week!


sábado, 11 de octubre de 2014

How do children acquire their first language?

First language acquisition, whatever the culture or the language, follows a predictable sequence. At birth, the infant vocal tract resembles that of apes; newborns have a higher larynx, a smaller throat, a shorter vocal tract and a different tongue shape than adults. These differences limit infant's production of speech sounds. As the infant grows, the tract gradually reshapes itself into the adult pattern. The development of the infants' tract allows children to speech.

The first stage in first language acquisition is called 'Bubbling'. During this srage, infants experiment with the production of a small set of sounds but they do not produce any recognizable words; this is mainly due to the immaturity of the vocal tract at their age. However, the production of these sounds indicates that the child is acquiring the basic sounds of the language that he or she is exposed to. Some of these sounds are made for the purpose of communicating; others have not got any specific purpose. In the last period of this stage, the bubbling resembles the native language of a child, acquiring some basic patterns of stress and intonation.

The second stage in first language acquisition is the 'One word stage' or 'holographic stage'. This stage embraces, generally and approximately, from the eleventh to the eighteen month in an infant's life. In this stage, babies start to utter recognizable words, in most of the cases, these recognizable words are useb by children to name people, animals, objects, etc. A clear situation that exemplifies this seage occurs when a child looks at cars moving on the street and he or she says 'car'. These recognizable words may be too narrow or to broad; on the one hand, a child produces the word 'teddy' to refer to his/her own teddy bear but not to refer to all the existent teddy bears. Children seem to establish connections between sound and meaning, and name the world around them based on their own associations and experiences. On the other hand, a child may produce the word 'dog' to refer not only to a dog, but also to a cat, a lamb, cows, etc. (Overgeneralization). This association shows that the child is beginning to understand the meaning of words, though not yet entirely.

The third stage of first language acquusition is named 'Two-word stage'. The infant experiences this stage at the age of eighteen to the thirty month of his/her life. The infant's development of language makes a step forwards and the child starts to join words for their communicational purpose, meaningful words that are intended to express a sentence. For example, the child may point at his/her mother's shoes and say 'mommy shoe' to refer yo the accurrte sentence 'those are mommy's shoes'. Though children are not capable of forming well-structured and complete sentences at this point of the acquisition process,they are able to put the words in the correct order in which these should appear in a complete sentence.

Eventually, the fourth stage of first language acquisition is the 'Telegraphic stage'. This stage generally starts when the child gets his or her thirtieth month of life. During this stage the ability to produce complete sentences, thoughts and ideas, emerges. Their productions have  real communicational purpose rather than only naming objects and people as it is in the case of previous stages. Furthermore, at this point of their decelopment, children start to acquire new words quickly and their vocabulary increases significantly.

To conclude, it is important to clarify that though this sequence of first language acquisition is universal, there is a great deal of variation in the age at which children reach each of these stages.  However, it is impossible to deny that the fact that every single human being acquires the language in the same specific way supports C!homsky's LAD theory; Chomsky states that human beings are born with an innate ability to learn language, he calls this ability 'the language acquisition device'. He believes that childrens' brains contain certain linguistic structures already printed on their minds that allow them to undersrand the main principles of a language; Chomsky names this set of linguistic structures and rules 'Universal grammar'. According to Chomsky, native speakers have grammatical competence in their native language; he differencuates between competence and performance. He states that while competence is knowledge of language, performance is the actual use of language in concrete situations. In the light of Chomsky's theory, UG is concerned with competence in that it tells what someone should know to have competence in a language.

Personally, I agree with this theory since I consider that are many elements that indicates that Chomsky's idea is right. First of all, newborn babies are not taught to acquire language, they are not guided on how they should produce sounds or in which situations they have to produce specific sounds to receive certain reactions from other people; although children are not explained how language functions, they are able to, gradually, acquire and use them properly. Secondly, human beings are capable of learning one, two, three or more languages establishing associations  understanding the different linguistic structures of each language learnt. The question that arises here is: how are we capable of doing so and other species are not? The possible answer may lis on the fact that human beings' anatomy and mind are so magnificient, complex and functional that they allow us to get such  extrodinary achievement.

miércoles, 24 de septiembre de 2014

Guess what finishes in -y? 'Funny Thursday!'

Poor orange!

Naughty Collin... 

 Punctuation, lovely lady!

Have a great almost-ending of the week, and don't forget to start your day with a big smile!


Hello you all!
I want to share with you an interesting webpage that I found while I was looking for some material. It contains a lot of on-line games; I tried some of them and they are really entertaining, I tried to choose some of them to attach the links but I couldn't select only a few since all of them work on different grammar points and are designed for different levels, so I decided to attach the link to the webpage for you to choose the game that is more suitable for your group of students.
Furthermore, there are some games for avanced learners that we can also play in order to practice or just have some fun for a while..
Enjoy it!

lunes, 25 de agosto de 2014

on-line games

Hello everyone! I hope you've enjoyed your winter break! This time, I want to share with you two interactive games. They are great for children since they are very colourful and dynamic. These games are mainly focused on present tenses but they are for different age.

The first one is for beginners level; it presents very basic sentences and includes a cute character which celebrates or gets sad when the child chooses the correct/wrong answer.  Furthermore, there is one thing in particular that I consider useful and it is that, while the student practices present simple tenses, he or she is recycling previous knowledge such as "CAN+VERB INF".
GAME 1 (link)

The second one is for older students since the game is more complex and the options given are from a higher level of knowledge. In addition to this, the characters are more suitable for older students, in my opinion for 10-13(aprox.) years old students.
GAME 2 (link)

Well, all what you need to play these games with your students is a computer which has access to internet. I know that, in most schools, we don't find such technology and it would be very difficult to try them on with large groups of students but I think that you can give it as a homework since, nowadays, most of our students have access, on their computer or some mobile phone, to internet.
You can also play them when you give some private lessons or if the facilities of the institution where you work allow it, you can use a projector and ask your students to come at the front and choose the options by turns.
There are many ways of make this kind of activities work, just think about it and let innovation enter in our lives!

Have a nice week :)