Acquisition of a Second/Foreign Language by Viewing a Television Program

  • Géry d’Ydewalle
  • Ubolwanna Pavakanun


Following the idea of language universals (Chomsky, 1964), proposals have been made that the phrase structure rules of transformational grammar might be universal to all languages. The grammar of a particular language, then, is to be supplemented by a universal grammar that accommodates the creative aspect of the particular language use. The universal grammar expresses the deep-seated regularities. The tacit knowledge of the universals is assumed to be innate; accordingly, children and adults use, to the same extent, the universal innate schema of language in acquiring any particular languages. According to this reasoning, children’s language acquisition and acquiring a new foreign language by adults should not make any difference. However, this seems to be a quite controversial issue.


  1. Albert, M. L., & Obler, L. K. (1978). The bilingual brain: Neuropsychological and neurolinguistic aspects of bilinguism. New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  2. Andersen, R. W. (1981). New dimensions in second language acquisition research. Cambridge, MA: Newbury House.Google Scholar
  3. Asher, J., & Price, B. (1967). The learning strategy of total physical response: Some age differences. Child Development, 38, 1219–1227.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Chomsky, N. (1964). Current issue in linguistic theory. The Hague: Mouton.Google Scholar
  5. d’Ydewalle, G., & Gielen, I. (1992). Attention allocation with overlapping sound, image, and text. In K. Rayner (Ed.), Eye movements and visual cognition: Scene perception and reading (pp. 415–427 ). New York: Springer-Verlag.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. d’Ydewalle, G., Van Rensbergen, & Pollet, J. (1987). Reading a message when the same message is available auditorily in another language: The case of subtitling. In J. K. O’Regan & A. Lévy-Schoen (Eds.), Eye movements: From physiology to cognition (pp. 313–321 ). Amsterdam: Elsevier Science Publishers (North- Holland).Google Scholar
  7. Gielen, M. (1988). Perceptie en ondertitels: De parafoveale en perifere informatieverwerking van ondertitels [Perception and subtitles: The parafoveal and peripheral information processing of subtitles]. Unpublished license thesis, University of Leuven, Leuven, Belgium.Google Scholar
  8. Hatch, E. M. (1983). Psycholinguistics: A second language perspective. Cambridge, MA: Newbury House.Google Scholar
  9. Holobow, N. E., Lambert, W. E., & Sayegh, L. (1984). Pairing script and dialogue: Combinations that show promise for second or foreign language learning. Language Learning, 34, 59–76.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Johnson, J. S., & Newport, E. L. (1989). Critical period effects in second language learning: The influence of maturational state on the acquisition of English as a second language. Cognitive Psychology, 21, 60–99.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Krashen, S. (1981). Second language acquisition and second language learning. Oxford, UK: Pergamon Press.Google Scholar
  12. Lambert, W. E., Boehler, I., & Sidoti, N. (1981). Choosing the languages of subtitles and spoken dialogues for media presentations: Implications for second language education. Applied Psycholinguistics, 2, 133–148.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Lambert, W. E., & Holobow, N. E. (1984). Combinations of printed script and spoken dialogue that show promise for students of a foreign language. Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science/Revue Canadienne des Sciences du Comportement, 16, 1–11.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Lenneberg, E. (1967). Biological foundations of language. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  15. Liceras, J. M. (1986). Linguistic theory and second language acquisition: The Spanish nonnative grammar of English speakers. Tübingen: Gunter Narr Verlag.Google Scholar
  16. McLaughlin, B. (1978). Second language acquisition in childhood. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  17. Olson, L., & Samuels, S. (1973). The relationship between age and accuracy of foreign language acquisition. Journal of Educational Research, 66, 263–267.Google Scholar
  18. Pfaff, C. W. (1986). First and second language acquisition processes. Cambridge, Mass.: Newbury House.Google Scholar
  19. Ritchie, C. W. (Ed.). (1978). Second language acquisition research: Issue and implications. New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  20. Scarcella, R. C., & Krashen, S. D. (1980). Research in second language acquisition. Cambridge, MA: Newbury HouseGoogle Scholar
  21. Seliger, H. (1978). Discussion of “The effects of neurological age on nonprimary language acquisition.” In C. W. Ritchie (Ed.), Second language acquisition research: Issues and implications (pp. 43–46 ). New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  22. Snow, C., & Hoefnagel-Hohle, M. (1977). Age differences in pronunciation of foreign sounds. Language and Speech, 20, 357–365.Google Scholar
  23. Snow, C., & Hoefnagel-Hohle, M. (1978). The critical period for language acquisition: Evidence from second language learning. Child Development, 49, 1114–1128.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Sohl, G. (1989). Het verwerken van de vreemdtalige gesproken tekst in een ondertiteld TV-programma [Processing foreign spoken text in a subtitled television program]. Unpublished license thesis, University of Leuven, Leuven, Belgium.Google Scholar
  25. Witelson, S. F. (1983). Bumps on the brain: Right-left anatomic asymmetry as a key to functional lateralization. In S. J. Segalowitz (Ed.), Language functions and brain organization (pp. 117–144 ). New York: Academic PressGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Westdeutscher Verlag GmbH, Opladen 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Géry d’Ydewalle
  • Ubolwanna Pavakanun

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations