User:Robbiemuffin/L2 Presentation Patterns

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L2 Presentation Patterns

Language is a city to the building of which every human being brought a stone.

- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Usually the details are shielded from the learner, making it at once easier to learn exactly and only the target language, and harder to reproduce the experience when targeting a different (from-to) language pair. This is of great benefit to the learner, who can just blindly learn, but it is a significant detriment to her future students.

In the modern world, a great breadth of languages are available for interaction online, in communities, chat rooms, and the like. Likewise, another of the outgrowths of this new access has been self-organized, spontaneous groups, albeit to varying degrees of success. Therefore the learner can no longer afford ignorance of language presentation. This book attempts to address that problem, specifically in the context of developing L2 materials here within the wikimedia communities.

— At least in english.

So, we begin by defining our terms.

note to contributors: please read the User:Robbiemuffin/L2 Presentation Patterns/conventions of this book first.

Second Language Acquisition[edit]

First paragraph from Second language acquisition

Second language acquisition is the process by which people learn a second language in addition to their native language(s). The term second language is used to describe the acquisition of any language after the acquisition of the mother tongue. There is also research into the similarities and differences of Third Language Acquisition. The language to be learned is often referred to as the "target language" or "L2", compared to the first language, "L1". Second language acquisition may be abbreviated "SLA", or L2A, for "L2 acquisition".

L2 acquisition can be seen as a process through which students (in the plural) develop their own personal language, the learner language. By continually refining and adding to the learner language, and then rehearsing, memorizing, and practicing, they reshape the learner language into the target language. This description has the advantage that it well describes the difference between a professional level of understanding a language, and a native understanding of a language. To achieve the native level (see [1][2]), you need not have a professional proficiency; you simply must be there. Or more to the point, a native speaker may not be able to express long, nuanced and profound technical arguments: In the United States, teaching this sort of expression typically is only begun at the third year of English at the undergraduate level. In Javanese, people that master the honorifics are held in high esteem. By changing contexts from the learner language to the actual target language, all the countless intangibles of culture, religion, and other social contexts have full breadth and their correct, natural associations with the language presentation itself — at least existentially.

L2 in practice on the Internet[edit]

There are different approaches; some expect the learner to construct the language from samples for memorization, or one might achieve an equivalent approach by directly engaging in chat without prior knowledge, while others provide varying degrees of the rules of the language; comparatively or constructively. Regardless of what is exposed, it is a fact that all languages are approximable if not systematic. Learners from another language will be studying the parts of these systems in their target language.

Format of this book[edit]

* The following concepts from computer science are required for a thorough understanding of the coverage in this section: pattern, scaffolding.


Each chapter in this book is divided into learning modules. There will be several of these; but each module is short and approachable. They are intended to be bite-sized chunks of information. Throughout the first section of the book we will build out a framework for language presentation, always this language as the example. After establishing an appreciation of this process, we will talk about the intersection of two such structures (the langauges of the from-to language pair).


A presentation pattern is not a Pedagogical pattern.

A presentation pattern is a general reusable solution to a commonly occurring problem in presentation. Such a pattern is not a finished design that can be transformed directly into a usable presentation. It is a description or template for how to solve a problem that can be used in many different situations. The patterns typically show relationships and interactions, without specifying the final application involved in a learning exchange.


Scaffolding is a technique of presentation in which the presenter may write a specification that describes the application of patterns to specific data, towards an overreaching goal. Within each module in the book are one or more scaffolding, and each scaffolding applies one or more pattern to data towards the conveyance of some end-goal.


Generally, to teach a language one need convey many things. The sounds and writing of the language, at least a working vocabulary of lexemes, a grammar, complete with semantic and pragmatic coverage specific to the logosphere, and culture.

  1. Writing system
  2. Sounds of the languagerhythm & cadence
  3. IPA chart
  4. Survey of speech
  5. Survey of writing
  1. Pronouns
  2. NSM words
  3. Extended NSM words to the 50% frequency — (see the Core vocabulary section of the Pimsleur system)
  4. Basic vocabulary
  5. Familiar Loan wordsfrom the mother tongue or the mother tongue family if relations permit.
  6. Other Loan wordsfrom other languages or language families where the exotic language contributes substantially to the target langauge
  • Grammar
  1. Syntax of regular simple sentences — (e.g., subject-verb order, the infinitive, the use of pronouns, articles or other isolating lexemes)
  2. Simple tensestemporals demarked only through inflection or the like
  3. Auxilliaries
  4. Modals
  5. Other Verb QualitiesMood, voice, aspect, and person, as necessary to FLESH OUT the verbs.
  • Pragmatics & Semantics
  1. Advanced Grammarcompound, complex sentence/phrasal structure
  2. Technical, professional discourse
  3. Honorifics
  • Logospheric Semantics
  1. Phrases
  2. Signsfor example, in many places in Asia it is common to imply things the public is not allowed to do at a location: A sign may describe the embarrassment of litering, in place of a direct prohibition
  3. Jargon and other microformatssuch as Legal, contractual language
  • Culture and related Pragmatics
  1. Introductory cultural topics
  2. Survey of literature
  3. Survey of film and the arts
  4. Survey of technical, professional work
  5. Local cultures
  6. Local accent
  7. Cultural identity
  8. Place within culture

It is a generally complete list of the modules we will use for presenting a language — and together in some form they should suffice. Nonetheless, using this list directly as a plan for language learning is unworkable. Simply put: Topics often need be presented simultaneously, and in a recurring fashion, and not simply rearranged into a different order.

Most language learning resources follow a path that maps well to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. Like the following:

Travel Phrases, official signs, NSM
A1 Sounds and writing, simple tenses in pure form, expanded NSM, phrases, introductory cultural topics
A2 Further writing if required, simple tenses, Simple modals/auxilliaries in pure form, fundamental vocabulary, more phrases, cultural topics
B1 Modals/auxilliaries, complex phrases , introductory literature/movies, subculture-specific accent focus and identity
B2 Compound/complex sentences, literature/movies, subculture-specific accent focus and identity
C1 Persuasive devises, technical and professional topics, subculture-specific accent focus and identity

Although most free coursework on the internet will only provide guided coverage until the B1 level.

Because of the variety in the presentations available, this average plan will be the plan used by convention in this book.


This book attempts to present the oft-hidden structure in online L2 language instruction. We will flesh out a general framework of: The sounds and writing of the language, at least a working vocabulary of lexemes, a grammar, complete with semantic and pragmatic coverage specific to the logosphere, and culture. Later we will work with this framework in a more directed fashion.

Return to the Contents

see also[edit]


  1. ILR scale
  2. Common European Framework of Reference for Languages