Fossilization: Articles Annotation
James, M. A. (2007, June 20). Interlanguage variation and transfer of learning. International
Review of Applied Linguistics in Language Teaching 45 (2), 95-118. doi:
In this study, James investigates the relationship between interlanguage variation and the transfer of learning. He believes that since interlanguage performance is a form of learning transfer, it may in some cases be influenced by the constraints on learning transfer. As such, he believes that the learning transfer research and theories can aid in the research on interlanguage variation. Firstly, James establishes interlanguage performance as a form of learning transfer. He asserts that learning transfer occurs when a learner develops L2 knowledge and skills in one context and applies them in other contexts or when the learner develops L2 knowledge and skills by performing particular tasks and applies them when performing other tasks. Secondly, James establishes a possible relation between the variation in interlanguage performance and the constraints on learning transfer. Although no direct relation has been established between interlanguage variation and learning transfer constraints such as transfer context factors, learner factors, and task factors, James points out how earlier findings showed a variation in language use based on the task; perceived requirement; the learner’s expectations for and understanding of the task; as well as the instruction they are provided. Thirdly, James proposes that the general scope of interlanguage variation research be expanded to include learning transfer constraints and a learning transfer perspective. This study serves as an affirmation of the theory that interlanguage is intentional and dynamic.
MacWhinney, B. (2009). Emergent of fossilization. Department of Psychology. Paper 221.
Retrieved from http://repository.cmu.edu/psychology/221
In this study, MacWhinney looks into the effects of aging on the learning of new skills where he prefers to use the Age of Arrival (AoA) variable instead of the Critical Period Hypothesis as the approach for the study. For the construction of test models that can explain the observed fossilization and AoA patterns, MacWhinney looks into ten proposals, namely the lateralization hypothesis; the neural commitment hypothesis; the parameter-setting hypothesis; the metabolic hypothesis; the reproductive fitness hypothesis; the aging hypothesis; the fragile rote hypothesis; the starting small hypothesis; the entrenchment hypothesis; and the entrenchment and balance hypothesis. MacWhinney characterizes the first three accounts as having a nativist view of language learning while the last three or four as having a tendency towards emergentism or empiricism. MacWhinney finds most of these accounts inconsistent with the observed patterns, and proposes the inclusion of the social stratification hypothesis and the compensatory strategies hypothesis. In conclusion, MacWhinney states that the hypothesis that best explains the effect of aging on the decline in learning abilities is a combination of the effects of ongoing L1 entrenchment and the notion that L2 first develops as dependent or parasitic on L1. This study delves deeper into the open-ended quality of interlanguage and why learning progress seems to reach a plateau.