II language acquisition

Sometimes my language students answer a question about language strategy with the idea that they got «lucky» if their results prove to be more favorable than they thought. But there is no such thing as getting «lucky» with language. It’s simply a process which though unconscious, one has made a right turn or decision as to the right answer in the games of what is right and what is wrong in language. The tricky part is raising awareness about said processes [metalinguistics baby!] but also acknowledging that an educated guess is far better than leaving blanks behind because if you do, then THAT is just plain bad luck and poor strategy.

So you acquired a II language by sheer luck. Putting it succinctly: your brain did something which, you, the owner, was not aware of, it, as in your brain, knew it, again, your brain, could do. What next? Let’s back a little just a tad. So if acquisition was done by inherent prowesses alien to you is it acquired though? This is no innocent query since the very idea of a «native speaker» not to mention Chomsky’s «window of opportunity» theory just might have a wrench smash it. Pardon the hyperbole for the sake of a jocund moment.

I rabidly dissent from the use of the word «acquisition» but since the powers to be in the ivory towers are fond of the term, for diverse purposes we bitterly use said “accepted” term to further our motives. Having left that letter of protest, much to our disgust,  we further our inquiry so as not to incriminate ourselves as vandals and window breakers, again, pardon the jocund tone.

So you got lucky. Is there anything to it? This «lucky» business? I suppose the easy answer is to own it. Like a mechanical bull. You steer it. How? You just do. Here begins the inquiry. Is it fireproof gut feeling? Happenstance? mere hazard of fortune? As you eliminate the obvious, then back in even further. Have you been exposed to said material somehow? Does your mouth salivate like a Pavlov dog at the sound of a bell? The bell being delicious sounding subjects which you passively took in sometime ago?

Dealing with unconscious happenstances, if you will, are always precarious because they start off with hunches, inklings at best which high brow establishment sneer at and define as half cooked notions at best. Yet higher learning buffs are yet to chart a course towards «meta-linguistic awareness». There is no compass or stars to guide us there. Academia can only account for the existence of «meta-linguistic awareness», not how to achieve it. There are, though, some crude sketches akin to an arrow pointing to a vast horizon in the desert. and no, am not digressing. Because the unconscious knowledge of language is still metalinguistics, albeit unawares.

Allow us to delve so far into uncharted sands so as to desire to quench this burdensome idea with an oasis which might or might not be there to aid our thirst for knowledge.

The mirage: a step by step of learning meta-linguistic awareness. Not just mention it as a psychprop to the student but as a strategy the student at hand can use to further its awareness of how language works. The quirk and unfettered notion of it in its purest form. Minutia handwork.

Yet, in the age of the internet how to approximate the lengthy labor of yore?

Based on Bialystok’s model of metalingusitic development (2001), metalinguistic skills have been defined as the ability to reflect upon language, to attend to its form and structure apart from its content or meaning, and to make judgments or evaluate its correctness or incorrectness.

Here, it is adamant we emphasize that we do not subscribe to the idea that metalinguistics is a rib of grammar. In other words, the idea that «psycholinguistic processing operations that access […] internalized grammar»

and to further our own joy gust:

How deaf children can recruit these psycholinguistic processing operations and use their ―ASL language template‖ to manipulate ASL representations and to map them onto the learning of their second language English remains to be studied in future studies.

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