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Input and interaction (SLA)


External factors
Input and interaction

Basic Conceptions
The interactionist view of language learning: ? Language acquisition is the result of an interaction between the

learner’s mental abilities and the linguistic environment. Long (1990) as cited in Ellis (1994) proposed that interaction is necessary for the second language acquisition.
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“互动主义观点”(interactionist view) ,即二 语习得是学习者智力与语言环境共同作用 的结果,学习者的加工机制决定并受到输入 的影响;同样地,输入的质量也受到学习者内 部机制的影响。 (杨党玲 2004)

Three aspects of verbal interaction: ? Interaction: Ellis (1985) defines interaction as the discourse jointly constructed by the learner and his interlocutors(对话者、谈话者) and input is the result of interaction.
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Input: What is available to the learner. ? Input is the language offered to the learner by native speakers or other learners. (Albakri: 110)
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Intake: What is actually internalized by the learner. Production (output) is the language spoken by the language learners themselves. (Albakri: 110) Feedback is the response given by the conversational partners to the production of the learner. (Albakri: 110)

7.1 Methods for investigating input and interaction
7.1.1 The data collected to study learner language ? These data consisted of transcriptions of the interactions in which the learners took part, involving both detailed linguistic analyses and discourse and conversational analysis.
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7.1.2 Research methods
Experimental research seeks to predict and explain behavior out of context; ethnographic research seeks to provide a contextually rich interpretation of behavior that leads to a grounded understanding of the phenomena that are being studied. (Brown& Gonzo 2006:7)

1) Experimental and pseudoexperimental studies ? These studies are designed to investigate the effect of specific variables on input and interaction.

Experiments: ? Two minimal criteria: ? At least two groups must be included. ? The subjects must be randomly assigned to one of the groups.
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Two goals: ? To establish cause-effect relationships; ? to extend the explanations/ predictions of the results of the study to the broader population. (Brown& Gonzo 2006:4-5)
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Quasi-experiments: ? It has both pre-and posttests and experimental and control groups, but no random assignment of subjects. (Nunan 1992: 41)
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2) Introspective technique ? Introspection is the process of observing and reflecting on one’ s thoughts, feelings, motives, reasoning processes, and mental states with a view to determining the ways in which these processes and state determine our behavior.
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Particularly contentious is the assumption made by researchers that the verbal reports obtained through the introspection carried out by their subjects accurately reflects the underlying cognitive processes giving rise to behavior. (Nunan 1992: 115)

(1) Some early introspective methods: ? Free association task: ? Subjects were required to say the first word they thought of in response to a stimulus word (Nunan 1992:116).
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Thinking –aloud techniques: ? Are those in which subjects complete a task or solve a problem and verbalize their thought processes as they do so.
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(2) Some introspective methods used nowadays (Brown& Gonzo 2006:7) ? Diaries: ? Diaries are first-person accounts of language learning or teaching.
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Case study: ? The study of a single individual is a kind of ethnography in terms of its method and its concern for studying the phenomena in context; however the qualitative methods of ethnography can be supplemented by quantitative data and statistical analyses. The method of data collection is normally naturalistic and longitudinal.
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Discourse analysis: ? In its most general sense, discourse analysis focuses on the analysis of whole texts (oral or written) rather than discrete sentences. The language data can be naturally occurring elicited, or invented. The procedures used in the analysis of language include both qualitative measures and quantitative measures such as coding and counting.
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7.2 Types of input to language learners
7.2.1 Input text: native-speaker usage ? A number of studies have examined what might be called “input text” by trying to establish what native speakers actually say or write.
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A number of researchers have warned of the dangers of making assumptions about the nature of the input that is addressed to language learners on the basis of descriptions of the abstract system of the target language.

7.2.2 Input discourse: the description of modified input
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1) Definition Input discourse: the special kind of “register” that is used when speakers address language learners.

native speakers’ talk ? caretaker talk ? foreigner talk ? interlanguage talk ? teacher talk
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Caretaker talk看护者的话

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(1) Definition When caretakers speak to young children who are in the process of acquiring their L1, they typically adjust their speech in a number of ways. The register that results has been referred to variously as “babytalk”, “motherese”(妈妈的话), “caretaker talk” and “child-directed language”.

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(2) Characteristics Style: Caretakers adjust their speech formally so that the input that children receive is both clearer and linguistically simpler then the speech they address to other adults.

Speed: ? Slower speed. ? E.g. The speech addressed to two yearolds has only half the speed used with other adults. ? Pitch: higher pitch.
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Lexis: ? Caretakers use a higher ratio of content words to functors and also restrict the range of vocabulary items employed. ? Syntax: ? a lower mean length of utterance (MLU).
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Topic: ? the kinds of topics that get talked about. ? A. To follow the here-and-now principle ? B. To find the topics that are familiar to their children ? C. To allow the child to initiate and control the development of topics.
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Interactional modifications: ? To make plentiful use of attention-getters ? Caretakers should be particularly skilful in the strategies they use to sustain and extend a conversation.
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3) Purposes of caretaker talk ? A. to aid communication ? B. to teach language ? C. to socialize the child
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3) Foreigner talk ? (1) Definition ? The foreigner talk (FT) is used by native speakers when communicating with nonnative speakers
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(2) The comparison of caretaker talk and foreigner talk ? A. Foreigner talk displays many of the characteristics of caretaker talk. ? E.g. no differences in the degree of wellformedness and syntactic complexity.
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B. Declaratives are much more common in the FT, and yes/no questions and imperatives less common. ? Reason: Whereas the main functional intent of caretaker talk is that of directing the child’s behavior, that of foreigner talk is the exchange of information.
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(3) Characteristics of FT ? A. Ungrammatical input modifications a) Omission of grammatical functors such as copula, articles, conjunctions, subject pronouns, and inflectional morphology ? b) Expansion ? E.g. “you” is inserted before an imperative verb ? c) replacement/rearrangement ? E.g. No want play
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B. Grammatical input modifications ? a) Simplification ? To simplify the language forms they use
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Type of simplification

Comment

Temporal variables
Length Syntactic complexity

Slower --- mainly as a result of longer pauses
Shorter sentences Less syntactically and propositionally complex Greater use of parataxis and less preverb modification A low type-token ration and a preference for high frequency lexical items

Vocabulary

b) Regularization ? c) Elaboration ? To lengthen sentences in an attempt to make the meaning clear. ? E.g. paraphrases, synonym, adding information
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b) and c) To simplify the learners’ task of processing the input and can result in the use language that is not always simple in itself.

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Simplification For example: well, er, … the 747’s a big jet. And er … er … it’s a Boeing, an American place. Er … there’s over 500 seats with er … some on top and er … some down below. Regularization The 747, it is a big jet. It is made by Boeing which is an American company. The seats, they are on two levels. There is a top level and a bottom level. Elaboration The Boeing 747 or jumbo, as it is called, is a very large jet, manufactured or made by an American company, a firm in Seattle USA. It has the capacity or space to set a large number of passengers, over 500 people. The seats are on two decks or levels, some up on top and some down below.

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Discourse management
--- amount and type of information conveyed --- use of questions --- here-and-there orientation --- comprehension checks -- self-repetition Interactional modifications Discourse Repair of communication breakdown --- negotiation of meaning --- relinguishing topic repair Repair of learner errors --avoidance of other correction

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--- on-record and off-record correction

Types of interactional modifications in foreigner talk

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A general preference for self-correction over othercorrection On-record feedback/correction: occurs when the native speaker responds to the source of a learner’s language problems directly and unambiguously, by means of a statement with declarative intonation. Off-record feedback/correction: is ambiguous and can have more than one interpretation; it can consist of a question in the form of a confirmation check or a statement.

(4) The functions of FT ? A. to promote communication ? Gass and Varonis (1994) have found that native speaker modifications are more frequent in two-way communication because conversation provides the native speaker with feedback from the learner and thus enables him to estimate the amount of adjustment required. (Albakri: 110)
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B. to signal, implicitly or explicitly, speakers’ attitudes towards their interlocutors

C. to teach the target language implicitly ? Hatch (1983) suggests that foreigner talk has the same basic functions as motherese whereby it promotes communication, establishes an affective bond between native speaker and learner and serves as an implicit mode of teaching. (Albakri: 110)
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3) Interlanguage talk (1)Definition Interlanguage talk (ILT) consists of the language that learners receive as input when addressed by other learners.

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(2) Two issues
A. The first concerns the extent to which ILT provides learners with adequate access to the grammatical properties of the target language.

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ILT has been found to be less grammatical overall than FT or teacher talk. Learners also fail to use politeness strategies to the same extents as native speakers. In general, they did not generate the kind of sociocultural input needed for language learning.

B. The second major issue concerns whether ILT provides learners with the same opportunities for negotiating meaning as occur FT. Overall, meaning negotiation is very extensive in ILT, more so than in comparable FT discourse.

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The quality of interlanguage talk is of considerable importance given the current emphasis placed on small group work in communicative language teaching.

4) Teacher talk
(1) Features of teacher talk ? A. Amount of talk ? In general, the research confirms the finding for L1 classroom --- namely, that the teacher takes up about two-thirds of the total time.
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B. Functional distribution ? There is considerable evidence of variability among teachers and programs, but the general picture is again one of teacher dominance in that teachers are likely to explain, question and command and learners to respond.
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C. Rate of speech ? Teachers, like native speakers in general, slow down their rate of speech when talking to learners in comparison to other native speakers and also do so to a greater extent with less proficient learners. However, there is considerable variability among teachers.
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D. Pauses ? Teachers are likely to make use of longer pauses when talking to learners than to other native speakers.
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E. Phonology, intonation, articulation, stress ? There have been few studies which have attempted to quantify these aspects of teacher talk, but teachers appear to speak more loudly and to make their speech more distinct when addressing L2 learners.
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F. Modification in vocabulary ? Several studies provide evidence of a lower type-token ratio and teachers also vary in accordance with the learners’ proficiency level.
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G. Modification in syntax ? There is a trend towards shorter utterances with less proficient learners, but some studies which use words per utterance as a measure report no modifications. The degree of subordination tends to be lower, but again results have been mixed. Teachers use fewer marked structures. More declaratives and statements than questions are used in comparison to natural discourse. Ungrammatical teacher talk is rare.
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H. Modification in discourse ? There is some evidence that teachers use more self-repetitions with L2 learners, in particular when they are of low level proficiency.
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(2) Error treatment
A. Four types of error treatment ? (a) Treatment that results in learners’ “autonomous ability” to correct themselves on an item. ? (b) Treatment that result in the elicitation of a correct response from a learner.
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(c) Any reactions by the teacher that clearly transform, disapprovingly refers to, or demands improvement. ? (d) Positive or negative reinforcement involving expressions of approval or disapproval.
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B. What type of error treatment is the best? ? (a) Error should be conducted in a manner that is compatible with general interlanguage development. ? (b) Self-repair is more conductive to acquisition than other-repair, as it is less likely to result in a negative affective response.
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(3)Teachers’ questions
A. Types of questions ? (a) Echoic ? Comprehension checks ? e.g. All right? Does everyone understand “polite”?
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Clarification requests ? e.g. What do you mean? I don’t understand; What?
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Confirmation checks ? e.g. S: Carefully ? T: Carefully? ? Did you say “he”?
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(b) Epistemic (认知的) ? Referential ? e.g. Why didn’t you do your homework? ? Display ? e.g. What’s the opposite of “up” in English?
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Expressive ? It’s interesting the different pronunciations we have now, but isn’t it? ? Rhetorical ? e.g. Why did I do that? Because …
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B. Study focus of teachers’ questions ? (a) The frequency of the different types of questions ? (b) Wait time ? (c) The nature of the learners’ output when answering questions
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(d) The effect of the learners’ level of proficiency on questioning ? (e) The possibility of training teachers to ask more “communicative” questions ? (f) The variation evident in teachers’ questioning strategies
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(4) Different attitudes towards the proportion of teacher-talk A. Trying to minimize teacher-talk ? E.g. audiolingual method, communicative method ? B. Not to minimize teacher-talk ? E.g. conventional academic teaching listening-based teaching
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7.3 Input and interaction in SLA
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7.3.1 Input frequency and SLA The frequency hypothesis states that the order of SLA is determined by the frequency with which different linguistic items occurs in the input.

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Hatch 和Wagner2Gough (1976) 首先提出 了频率假设(frequency hypothesis) 。他们 认为,学习者习得语言的先后顺序取决于该 语言成分在输入中出现频率的高低。但实 证研究结果表明,二者之间关系是复杂的。 (杨党玲、李民权 2004)

7.3.2 Interaction
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Hypothesis

When L2 learners face communicative problems and they have the opportunity to negotiate solutions to them, they are able to acquire new language. This claim has been referred to as the Interaction Hypothesis (Ellis, 1990).

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1) The relationship between interactive and non-interactive input and comprehension

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In terms of non-interactive input: There is mixed evidence regarding the value of linguistically simplified input for promoting comprehension. Whereas speech rate does have a clear effect, grammatical modifications do not always result in improved comprehension. Elaborative modifications will only benefit comprehension if the level of linguistic difficulty of the input does not exceed a certain threshold.

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In terms of interactive input: The presence of interactional modification is of no guarantee that comprehension has taken place. Learners may choose to feign comprehension after negotiation rather than continue to demonstrate to their interlocutors that they have not understood, while comprehension appears to benefit from opportunities for negotiation of meaning.

2) The relationship between comprehensible input and acquisition ? Comprehensible input contributes acquisition.
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3) The relationship between input/interactional modifications and acquisition ? (1) Providing learners with contextual cues that help them to understand the meanings of words results not only in better comprehension but also in better retention of the words. ? (2) Providing learners with opportunities to modify input interactionally improves comprehension and enables them to learn more new words than simply providing the learners with unmodified or premodified input.
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7.3.3 The input hypothesis

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Input Hypothesis: Learners progress along the natural order by understanding input that contains structures a little bit beyond their current level of competence (Krashen, 1981)

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According to this hypothesis, the learner improves and progresses along the 'natural order' when he/she receives second language 'input' that is one step beyond his/her current stage of linguistic competence.

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For example, if a learner is at a stage 'i', then acquisition takes place when he/she is exposed to 'Comprehensible Input' that belongs to level 'i + 1'.

7.3.4 Noticing Hypothesis 有意注意假设 (1) The ideas of Noticing Hypothesis (Truscott 1998: 10) ? Noticing Hypothesis: Attention is essential to learning; there could be no learning without attention (Schmidt, 1990)
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It claims that conscious awareness (noticing) of grammar plays an important role in the process. In the strong form of the hypothesis, favored by Schmidt (1990; 1993a; 1994; 1995b), noticing is a necessary condition for learning.

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Other researchers might prefer a weaker version; that noticing is helpful but might not be necessary. In the weak version, learners need only be aware of the input in a global sense; they do not have to notice any details of its form.

2) Related researches: ? (1) Research on attention ? (2) Noticing vs attention to the task ? (3) Consciousness and learning research
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7.4 Learner output and acquisition
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Output Hypothesis: Learners need the opportunities of meaningful use of their linguistic resources to achieve full grammatical competence.

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Comprehensive output contributes to acquisition in that learners need to be pushed into producing output that is concise, coherent, and appropriate in order to develop full grammatical competence. There is evidence to show that indirect feedback in the form of clarification requests pushes learners to improve their output.

7.5 Gass's Model
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The Input-Interaction model demonstrates the different stages that input goes through before it can be utilized productively by the learner. This model, an interactive model of second language acquisition, attempts to incorporate all attributes of L2 development and to embrace the different and often incompatible proposals in the literature.

The different theories of language acquisition, in general, are presented and Gass's approach is to show how they complement, rather than contradict, each other. (Finney 1997) ? 语码输入输出整合理论(戴炜栋、徐海铭、 罗杏焕 2006)
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Apperceived input characterizes the awareness of new L2 information that is not yet part of the learner's L2 repertoire. Comprehended input goes one step beyond recognition. It may be analyzed and has the potential of being assimilated through the process of intake. Integration involves storage of new information for later use, hypothesis formulation, and confirmation or reformulation of existing hypotheses. Output is an "overt manifestation" of the acquisition process. (Gass 1997)

Further reading for this chapter
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1. Albakri, N. R. & J. B. Inggeris . Interaction is the Key to Second Language Learning Jurnal IPBA / Jilid 3 : Bilangan 2. 110-113 2. Brown, H. D & S. T. Gonzo (eds.). 2006. Readings on Second Language Acquisition. 世界 图书出版公司 3. Larsen-Freeman, D. and M. Long, 1991, An introduction to Second Langue Acquisition Research

4. Clyne, M. (ed.), 1981, Special issue on “Foreigner Talk”, International Journal of Sociology of Language (1981) 28 ? 5. Cross, J. 2002. ?Noticing? in SLA: Is it a valid concept? Teaching English as a Second or Foreign Language 6 (3): 2-9 ? 6. Filologia, S. P. Comprehensible input and learning outcomes.
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7. Finney, A. M. 1997. The book review of Input, Interaction, and the Second Language Learner. Teaching Language as a Second or Foreign Language. 3(1): R-14. 8. Long, M., 1983, Native-speaker/non native-speaker conversation and the negotiation of meaning, Applied Linguistics (1983) 4: 126-41 9. Schü R.. 2005. Stephen Krashen's theory of tz, second language acquisition. http://www.sk.com.br/sk-krash.html

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10. Swain, M. & L. X. Yang. 2008. Output hypothesis: its history and its future. 外语教 学与研究. 40(1): 45-50 11. Truscott, J. 1998. Noticing in second language acquisition: a critical review. Second Language Research. 14 (2): 103–135

12.戴炜栋、徐海铭、罗杏焕,2006,语码 输入、语码吸收和语码输出研究新进展, 外语教学,27(5): 3-9 ? 13.邓联健、杨烈祥,2006,二语习得中的 吸收假设,外语教学,27(3):46-50 ? 14.董卫、付黎旭,2003,背诵式语言输入 在大学英语教学中的作用,外语界,96 (4):56-59
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15.刘学惠,2005,课堂环境下的第二语言习得: 理论框架与分析单位,外语与外语教学,199 (10):54-58 16.罗立胜、杨叶丹,2008,大学英语学习阶段的 语言输入及语言理解研究,外语教学,29(1): 40-43 17.乔佳义,2003,大学英语课堂教学媒介语对比 实验研究,外语教学与研究,35(5): 372-7

18.杨党玲、李民权, 2004, 对输入理论的探 讨———输入、互动与二语习得之关系, 外 语界,99 (1): 69-73 ? 19.周丹丹,2006,输入与输出的频率效应 研究,现代外语,29(2):154-163 ? 20.周军平,2006,教师话语与第二语言习 得,外语教学,27(3):69-72 ? 21.周星、毛卫娟,2006,外语课堂教学媒 介语研究述评,外语与外语教学,205: 14-7
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