Consciousness and Languange Learning

December 15, 2017

Conciousness and Language Learning, What is the link ?

In this paper, I would like to describe about the link between consciousness and Language learning. Before going to discuss about the link or relation between both them, we should to know exactly what is the definition of consciousness and language learning itself. According to Amit Goswani (in his book The Self-Aware Universe (Chapter 7, p.105) write that six definitions of consciousness:

  1. Joint or mutual knowledge
  2. Internal knowledge or conviction, especially of one’s own ignorance, guilt, deficiencies, and so forth.
  3.  The fact or state of being conscious or aware of anything.
  4.  The state or faculty of being conscious as a condition of concomitant of all thought, feeling and volition.
  5. The totality of the impressions, thoughts, and feelings which make up a person’s conscious being.
  6. The state of being conscious regarded as the normal condition of healthy waking life.

Another general definition of consciousness that accommodates most views (Vimal, 2010b) is: ‘consciousness is a mental aspect of a system or a process, which is a conscious experience, a conscious function, or both depending on the context and particular bias (e.g. metaphysical assumptions)’, where experiences can be conscious experiences and/or non-conscious experiences and functions can be conscious functions and/or non-conscious functions that include qualities of objects.

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Furthermore, Language learning is the process by which the language capability develops in a human and also broadly defined as developing the ability to communicate in the second / foreign language. Based on the definition both of them, we can understand that consciousness really important in language learning especially in the field of second language acquisition. The consciousness has great aspects like attention, awareness, intentionality, and control. As we know that attention is of key importance for learning. Learning should pay particular attention to the feature of language and this can be an essential condition for language learning or also learning a second language (Schmidt, 1993b). Awareness is an individual's subjective experience of a stimulus or cognitive content. Just as there are conditions on attention, so there are on the ability to notice target language features. Ellis (1993a) said that explicit knowledge prompted by grammar instruction can facilitate learners' intake, serving as an advance organizer but not feeding directly into the implicit knowledge system unless the learner is developmentally ready for it. He stated that explicit knowledge is a conscious representation which is not the same as articulated knowledge. Intentionality refers to desires, beliefs and other propositional attitudes and Learning language is like learning to drive a car: it has both a skill aspect and a knowledge aspect. By the control aspect of consciousness, the learners are aware of using mental translation, trying to remember paradigms they have been taught in class and grouping for words and structures to express their intentions. As learning progresses, there is a gradual shift to a stage in which more attention is devoted to what one wants to say, with the process of grammaticizing becoming more and more automatic.

We can conclude that both consciousness and language learning are inextricably connected. Because learning is need attention, awareness, intentionality, and control. All of that aspects will be effect in language learning to get better result in learning process.

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