Strength for Today and Bright Hope for Tomorrow

Volume 10 : 7 July 2010
ISSN 1930-2940

Managing Editor: M. S. Thirumalai, Ph.D.
Editors: B. Mallikarjun, Ph.D.
         Sam Mohanlal, Ph.D.
         B. A. Sharada, Ph.D.
         A. R. Fatihi, Ph.D.
         Lakhan Gusain, Ph.D.
         K. Karunakaran, Ph.D.
         Jennifer Marie Bayer, Ph.D.
         S. M. Ravichandran, Ph.D.



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What Is Most Important? Fluency or Accuracy?
Is Learning a Second Language a Conscious Process?

G. Vijay, M.A., M.Phil.

Is a Second Language Acquired or Learned?

Can any one say, "I learned language logically like Mathematics and other Sciences?" Language learning appears to a be fantasy or some such thing. People who speak the English language say that their learning was purely unconscious. Right from their schooling days, they have been listening, speaking, reading and writing English continuously. Only after this lengthy process, they are able to achieve the state of competency. But they are not confident to point out "Is language learned or acquired?" Though they speak language fluently, they are not aware of the major rules of the grammar. They simply accepted the usages that they were exposed to and unquestioningly imitated the same.

The Goal of This Paper

This paper has the objective of finding out the process which Non-native speakers of English adopt to acquire English as their Second Language. It concentrates on two important factors "fluency and proficiency". It supports the need for fluency rather than for proficiency. Feed back of the people who use the English language as a Second Language is gathered through interview method and used for the analysis.

Is It a Conscious System?

In spite of many theories introduced relating to language learning, it is still puzzling to think how language skills are acquired. Is it a conscious process? Is it related to the behaviour system? Many students still face difficulty in acquiring English as a second language. What exactly inhibits them? How long will it take to achieve fluency?

Fluency in Second Language

Spoken English training centres assure students that fluency could be installed in them with in a period of six months. They start with basic grammar and end with situational conversations. They devote two hours per day for teaching and training. Probably the trainees would be college students, housewives, and workers who would have crossed the flexible age of acquiring a language but are now interested in improving their career by learning English.

But linguists say that language should be internalized subconsciously so that one can have communicative competence. Ellis (1986:6) says that second language acquisition is the subconscious or conscious process by which a language, except the mother tongue, is learnt in a natural or a mentored set up. It covers the development of phonology, lexis, grammar and pragmatic knowledge.

If it is internalized consciously, only grammatical competence can be acghieved. Today's training centres and educational institutions render only conscious learning process which inhibits learners from achieving fluency as acquisition of accuracy becomes a great focus.

Students are introduced to the basic principles, techniques, and methods of learning a second or foreign language using modern linguistic principles and methods of linguistic description (Thirumalai, 2002).

Accuracy or Fluency?

It is an accepted fact that many educational institutions teach English as a subject rather than as a medium of communication. Right from the junior classes till the higher secondary, teaching grammar is a mandatory practice. Moreover, grammar is taught without stressing its role in real conversations and writings. Students are taught only the tactics of converting one statement into another and fill up the blanks by indentifying certain clues. For instance while teaching "Voice" the trainer teaches them only the rules of converting active to passive or passive to active rather than justifying the applications of those structures in real life usage.

This is only the beginning part of the article. PLEASE CLICK HERE TO READ THE ARTICLE IN PRINTER-FRIENDLY VERSION.

EAT Expressions in Manipuri | Learning from Movies - 'Slumdog Millionaire' and Language Awareness | Maternal Interaction and Verbal Input in Normal and Hearing Impaired Children | Role of L2 Motivation and the Performance of Intermediate Students in the English (L2) Exams in Pakistan | Problems in Ph.D. English Degree Programme in Pakistan - The Issue of Quality Assurance | Using Technology in the English Language Classroom | Teaching Literature through Language - Some Considerations | e-Learning of Japanese Pictography - Some Perspectives | Is It a Language Worth Researching? Ethnographic Challenges in the Study of Pahari Language | Using a Reading Material for Interactive Reading | Importance of Task-Based Teaching in Second Language Acquisition - A Review | Skill Enhancement Techniques - The Necessary Tools for the Indian Management Students | African American Literature and Ishmael Reed's Novels - Hoodism | Instances of Code Switching in Indian Television Serials | The Role of Compounding in Technical English Prescribed for Engineering Students in Tamilnadu | Polite Request Strategies as Produced by Yemeni EFL Learners | Manju Kapoor's Difficult Daughters - A Saga of Feminist Autonomy and Separate Identity | Reflections on Partition Literature - A Comparative Analysis of Ice Candy Man and Train to Pakistan | Mother Tongue! The Neglected Resource for English Language Teaching And Learning | Breaking the Good Mother Myths - A Study of the Novels of Amy Tan | Effect of Teachers' Academic Qualification on Students' L2 Performance at the Secondary Level | What Is Most Important? Fluency or Accuracy? Is Learning a Second Language a Conscious Process? | Let Us Learn from Our Standard 1 Textbook, Again! - A Brief Note on the New Standard 1 Tamil Textbook in Tamilnadu | Eugene O' Neill's The Hairy Ape - An American Expressionistic Play | A PRINT VERSION OF ALL THE PAPERS OF JULY 2010 ISSUE IN BOOK FORMAT | HOME PAGE of July 2010 Issue | HOME PAGE | CONTACT EDITOR

G. Vijay, M.A. M.Phil.
Department of English
School of Science and Humanities
PSNA College of Engineering and Technology
Kothandaraman Nagar
Dindigul 624622
Tamilnadu, India

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