The Invariant-Based SLA Theory as Scaffolding for Textbook Theory and Praxis of Learning: Domain, Phenomena, and Modes of Operation

The Invariant-Based SLA Theory as Scaffolding for Textbook Theory and Praxis of Learning: Domain, Phenomena, and Modes of Operation

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-2672-9.ch003
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Abstract

L2 textbooks have always played an important role in the nativist and instructed leaning of foreign languages. Being a derivative of an SLA theory, textbook thesis is supposed to be subordinate to the basics of the original general framework. The underlying fundamentals of textbook theory coincide with those of SLA but are transpired into a domain designated as the acquirer's status. The concept is related to the functional modules of language systematics, its communicative projection, and the individual's inner verbal thought. These correlate with situational and linguistic patterns determined in terms of invariant predicative units. The binary principle will reveal itself in that the dimensions “language and communication,” “language and individual (introspective) verbal thought,” “communication and language,” “communication and individual verbal thought,” “individual verbal thought and language,” and “individual verbal thought and communication” are symmetrical counterparts of the predication axiom. The modules mentioned characterize the modus operandi of textbook theory phenomena alongside the operational modes presented by different types of speech: egocentric, inner, vocal, and written. Each mode is distinguished by a particular formula of predicative expression, with the total number of binary units remaining the same irrespective of the functioning mode type.
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Introduction

Methodologists on second language learning and teaching have always been striving for implementing the main directions of the field in textbooks. While doing so, representatives of the language teaching community have had to deal with the veritable immensity of categories, principles, approaches, methods and other fundamental notions whose descriptions are not unanimously accepted. There are few definitions, if any, once and for all established even with regard to essentials like goals, objectives, levels of competence, learning units, material selection principles, communicative situations, material presentation succession, communicativeness and language systematics ratio, etc. Hence, it is still most disputable whether there could be specific common grounds for L2 textbook development which stipulate certain technical regularities. Or, on the contrary, each text is bound to be the implementation of its authors’ methodological stance. This most contentious issue is still unresolved for the obvious reasons. First, this is because “the field of second language acquisition is one about which everyone seems to have an opinion”, both experts and laymen (Gass & Selinker, 2008, p. xv). The miscellaneous variety of SLA concept definitions mentioned earlier corroborates the fact that “we are far from a complete theory of SLA, but there is progress” (p 1). Second, the unavailability of an established SLA theory predetermines the deficiency of a corresponding textbook theory as the formation of the latter is to be well-rooted in a solid theoretical base. Consequently, the above question of whether textbooks are to be composed on a theoretical base or in accordance with the authors’ views of language learning remains open, but what we have is a great number of texts of all kinds. All of them are products of individual minds, many of them are very efficient, but their totality does not create what might be called a textbook theory, just as the diversity of SLA concepts and definitions does not automatically mean the creation of a theory, either

For this reason, in Chapters 1 and 2 we attempt to sketch the bulk of a universal invariant SLA theory which a corresponding textbook projection branches off.

Since the premises of the general SLA theory should establish an indissoluble link with textbook theory basics, both the realms are to have a common denominator, a quality or trait persisting throughout a mass of their domains’ parameters. The task of specifying a universal invariant characteristic in common is considerably complicated by the above-mentioned marked precariousness of the language acquisition domain characteristics.

In the previous narration there have been repeated references made to the peculiarities of the SLA subject field. SLA is referred to wide-ranging field of knowledge concerned with learning and teaching an additional (non-primary) language alongside the disciplinary inquiry and research of the objects involved in the domain. SLA theorizing is characterized by multiple conceptions, methodologies and approaches. These produce a huge aggregate of various features and qualities whose all-embracing characterization seems controversial, ambiguous and thereby problematic unless good grounds to rely on are found which make the unification of language acquisition constituents possible on the basis of their invariant function.

As is stated in Chapter 2, the explication and delineation of L2 acquisition involves dimensions and functions which are the basics for analyzing underlying operational constituents. The dimensions (also modules, values, quantities) include language systematics, its communicative projection and the individual’s inner verbal activity. The set of the three quantities determines itself as a functional domain independent of the coordinate system. The functions correlate with situational and linguistic patterns determined in terms of invariant predicative units. Therefore, the binary principle will reveal itself in that the dimensions “language and communication”, “language and individual (introspective) verbal thought” “communication and language”, “communication and individual verbal thought”, “individual verbal thought and language” and “individual verbal thought and communication” are symmetrical counterparts of the predication axiom. Therefore, the statements logically deduced from them are two-by-two dual.

It is the value of predication that coalesces language systematics, communication and thought processes and thus distinguishes language learning from the cumulative effect of the formidable but paradoxically blurred background of each.

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