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Oct 25, I got suckered again. Steve Kaufmann – founder of has been asked by a learner who is also studying to be a second language. The Process of Fossilization in Interlanguage. PUB DATE. Apr NOTE. 19p.; Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the. World Congress of Applied. Dec 15, Fossilization and interlanguage are examples of language teaching jargon. These kinds of technical terms often strike me as unnecessary.

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Understanding Fossilization in Secondary Language Acquisition

Or is it perhaps not that they cannot overcome fossilization, but that they will not? By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

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The language, for all intents and purposes, has been set in stone in the mind of the learner at this last point. The current understanding is that those who are learning the language within a fossiliaztion environment are less likely to fossilize, and at a minimum have a higher threshold at unterlanguage they fossilize. This usually means learning a language in a classroom, as opposed to learning it in the country where it is natively spoken.

You can help Wikipedia by reading Wikipedia: Competition model Comprehensible output Connectionism Dynamic Systems Theory Generative second-language acquisition Input hypothesis Interaction hypothesis Interface hypothesis Interface position Noticing hypothesis Processability fossilkzation Order of acquisition Skill-based theories.

We’re not talking trilobites and Tyrannosauruses here: Views Read Edit View history. In other languages English Change links.

Understanding Fossilization in Secondary Language Acquisition

Retrieved from ” https: Retrieved from ” https: So, interlanguage fossilization means the second language learners’ failure for achieving the new language. Views Read Change Change source View history. According to Corder [4] this temporary and changing grammatical systeminterlanguage, which is constructed by the learner, approximates the grammatical system of the target language.


Fossilization has attracted considerable interest among researchers and has engendered significant differences of opinion. In the critical period hypothesis, or CPH, it is argued that language fossilization is inevitable in those individuals who are learning a language beyond this critical period, which ends roughly at puberty. This page was last changed on 26 Aprilat Clearly, this is not the only issue at stake. Selinker’s concept of fossilization is similar to that of Nemser, [1] Tarone, [8] and Sridhar, [9] all of whom attempted to explore the causes of fossilization in second language learners’ interlanguage.

Fossilization often means that certain aspects of the language were learned incompletely or incorrectly, such as grammatical features like conjugating verbs in the wrong fashion or using the wrong vocabulary, in such interlanyuage manner that they cannot be unlearned and replaced with correct usage. Many researchers have attempted to explain this.

The term, borrowed from the field of paleontologyconjures up an image of dinosaurs being enclosed in residue and becoming a set of hardened remains encased in sediment. Please help improve this article by introducing appropriate citations of additional sources.

For a more technical approach, check out this article on Fossilization, automatization and second language acquisition. Unlike children, who are generally more open to target language culture, adults have more rigid language ego boundaries.

This article relies largely or entirely upon a single source. This may be a minority of individuals, yes, but it proves that those within the CPH are not universally invulnerable to the effect.


Some potential for learning small superficial aspects of the language might still exist, such as vocabulary, but conceptual understanding of the material will interlanguag develop any further.

This article has multiple issues.

Does complacency set in after second language learners begin to communicate, as far as they are concerned, effectively enough, in the target language, and as a result does motivation to achieve native-like competence diminish? Many aspects of a language simply cannot be taught in a classroom, where one generally learns a highly academic version of the tongue, as opposed to the colloquial language.

Learning a language at a younger age, following the CPH, also seems to reduce the risk of fossilization. Language transfer Linguistic universal Word lists by frequency. Fossilization means a condition where nothing can be changed. Fossilization may also consist of a sort of subconscious clinging to aspects of the learner’s mother tongue, for instance, with syntax and phonology.

Interlanguage fossilization

One factor of obvious relevance is motivation, and studies have been conducted regarding motivation to learning second language, [14] [15] [16] [34] [35] and the relationship of fossilization to the learner’s communicative needs.

Thus, adults may be inclined to establishing their pre-existing cultural and ethnic identity, and this they do by maintaining their stereotypical accent.

Still, the debate goes on among psycholinguists: The concept of fossilization in SLA research is so intrinsically related to interlanguage that Selinker onterlanguage it to be a fundamental phenomenon of all SLA and not just to adult interlangage. According to Guiora et al.