Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Atkinson, Dwight (2011, Mar. 2). Adaptive intelligence and a sociocognitive approach to second language acquisition. Linguistics Luncheon, Student Center, Southern Illinois University.

I mention this first because it's amazing to some degree that there is still a Linguistics Luncheon; that the tradition continues; that we have a respected second language acquisitionist here; that many people attended. I won't dwell on this but I think it's good to have a record somewhere that linguistics is still alive at SIUC.

Then, as for what he said, I'll review. There was a cognitive revolution. It was anti-behaviorist. It considered mind as number one, and its proponents became interested in the idea of mind as computer. The sociocognitive approach combines social and cognitive approaches, and rejects the idea that cognitive processes are locked away in an isolated prison of the mind. We are adaptive by nature, good at frisbee but bad at math (abstract math, anyway). We have an extremely complex environment for several reasons; we learn as we adapt and the two are bound together. There is the inseparability principle and the alignment principle in which we have many tools of alignment including eye gaze, gesture, facial expression, etc.; language fits into this alignment process and has to be seen as part of it.

There was an active question-answer session, the first question being about our present alignment toward online communication and how this would alter our view of language and language learning. Dr. Atkinson brought up the chat-bots who carry on entire but disjointed conversations with each other and how that alters our view of "conversation" and "alignment." There were more but my cell phone rang, and I was called away on a personal situation. But thank you Dr. Atkinson! I hope I haven't too seriously misrepresented what you said; I realize that my notes are somewhat simplistic. It can be recaptured in more formal form, as necessary.

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