Sciences sociales et humaines
Motcho Prosper A TCHADE
Université d'Abomey / Calavi- BENIN
Si l'objectif principal de l'acquisition d'une seconde langue est de former les apprenants à être en mesure
de lire des articles, des livres, des revues, etc., qui ont trait à leur domaine d'intérêt ou de parler ou écrire
la langue cible, diftërentes approches doivent être utilisées pour atteindre ledit objectif.
Un programme dont l'objectif est de former les apprenants à communiquer oralement avec les locuteurs
d'une langue maternelle déterminée doit être diftërent de celui où l'accent est mis sur la précision gramma-
ticale dans l'emploi de ladite langue.
Diftërents apprenants ont différentes habiletés: certains apprennent mieux en écoutant. d'autres en voyant
ou en touchant: certains ont une mémoire photographique, d'autres par contre ont une mémoire auditive.
Toutes ces différences doivent intervenir dans les approches utilisées pour enseigner ou apprendre une
langue cible.
C'est pourquoi, cet article s'est penché sur l'analyse conceptuelle des approches relatives à l'acquisition ou
à l'apprentissage d'une seconde langue. Il est à noter qu'il y n'a aucune approche partàite pour toutes
sortes d'apprenants dans toutes circonstances. Cependant. il est conseillé aux enseignants de connaître
particulièrement les habiletés à enseigner, les programmes à enseigner ou à apprendre, l'ordre dans lequel
ces programmes doivent être exécutés pour faciliter l'apprentissage ou l'acquisition d'une seconde langue.
Mots clés : Approche: programme procédura/ : programme hasé sur une démarche technique: pro-
gramme hosé sur des tûches spéc[liques : programme .\\~l'nthétiqlle et programme ono(l'tiqlle.
Kel' 11'Ord\\' : Approach: procedura/ .\\yllahus: process .\\ylluhl/s: tosk .\\)'lIahus: synthetic .\\yllahus: ana/ytic

better through the ear, others through the eye. Sorne
have good photographie memories, others good
If the main aim of the second language course is to
auditive ones. Sorne are able to communicate easily
teach the leamers to be able to read books and
and fluently in speech in their own language, others
articles in their own field, the approach will be
are not.
different from the course in which the main aim is to
equip the leamers to communicate orally with
Ali these differences need to be reflected in the
mother-tongue speakers of that language. A course
approaches we use to teach or leam a language. That
which aims chiefly at fluenèy, without worrying too
is why in this article, I would like to deal wifh the
much about accuracy, will be different from one in
conceptual analysis of approaches in the second
which the main aim is the correct use of the language.
language acquisition. I would like to say from the
beginning that there is no one perfect approach for
Different leamers have different abilities: sorne leam
alileamers in aIl conditions. However, it is advisable
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to be concerned in second language acquisition
controlled for structure or lexis in the traditional
(SLA) with the particular skills to be taught the
manner. So, analytic approaches are organised in
content hl be taught or leamed, and the order in
terms of the purposes for which people are leaming
whidl the content will be presented.
and the kinds of language performance that are
necessary to meet those purposes. Analytic refers
not to what the syllabus does, but to the operations
required ofthe leamer. Analytic syllabuses are those
1think the choice of the unit ofanalysis in syllabus
which present the target language whole chunks at
design is crucial for ail aspects of a language
a time. without linguistic interference or control.
tcaching/learning program. A variety of units,
They rely on (a) the leamers' assumed ability to
including word, structure, notion, function, topic and
perceive regularities in the input and to induce rules.
situation continue to be employed in synthetic, type
and (b) the continued availability to leamers' innate
A, syllabuses. While each is relevant for analysis of
knowledge of linguistic universals and the ways
the target language and its use, native-like linguistic
language can vary, knowledge which can be
elements find little support as meaningful acquisition
reactivated by exposure to natural samples of the
units from a language leamer's perspective. Task
L2. ProceduraL process and task syllabuses are all
has more recently appeared as the unit of analysis.
examples of the analytic syllabus type.
Three new task-based syllabus types appeared in the
1980s: (a) the procedural syllabus, (b) the process
The analytic/synthetic distinction is partially reflected
syllabus and (c) the task syllabus. They are
in a second classification by R. V White 's (1988) Type
distinguishable from most earlier syllabus types by
A and Type B syllabuses. However. whereas Wilkins'
the fact that part of thcir rationale derives from what
categories tum on differences in the way input and
is known about human leaming in general and for
learner interact, White's conceptualization is
second language leaming in particular rather than,
broader. capturing differences in two general
as is the case with lexical, structural, notional,
approaches to course design, instruction. language
functionaL and relational syllabuses, primarily from
leaming and evaluation. Type A syllabuses focus on
an analysis of language or language use. Ail three
what is to be leamed: the L2 Type A syllabuses.
reject linguistic elements (such as work, structure,
White points out, are extemal to the leamer, other-
notion or function) as the unit of analysis and opt
directed, determined by authority. set the teacher as
instead for sorne conception oftask.
decision maker. treat the subject matter of instruction
as important and assess success and failure in terms
Syllabus types can be divided into two classes,
of achievement or mastery. Type B syllabuses, on
synthetic and analytic (Wilkins, 1976). Synthetic
the other hand, focus on how the language is to be
syllabuses segment the target language into discrete
leamed. They involve no artificial pre-selection or
linguistic items for presentation one at a time. Wilkins
arrangement of items and allow objectives to be
( 1976). advocates that "Different parts oflanguage
determined by a process of negotiation between
are taught separately and step by step so that
teachers and leamers after they meet as a course is
acquisition is a process of graduai accumulation of
in progress. They are thus intemal to the leamer,
parts until the structure of language has been built
negotiated between leamers and teachers as joint
up ... At any one time, the leamer is being exposed
decision makers.
to a deliberately limited sample oflanguage" (p.2).
synthctic refers to the learner's role: the leamer's
For Long and Crookes (1992), syllabus designers
task is to re-synthesize the language that has been
who choose a linguistic element (e.g. word,
broken down into a large number of small pieces
structure. notion, or function) as the organizational
with the aim ofmaking his leaming task easier; so it
unit commit themselves to a synthetic. Type A.
relies on the leamer's assumed ability to leam a
syllabus; and for them, this approach is artificial
language in parts which are independent of one
because the samples are written to conform to a sd
another, and which also integrate or synthesize the
oflinguistic specifications and so, do not reflect how
pieces when the time cornes to use them for
people speak or write the language concemed. They
communicative purposes. Analytic syllabuses offer
think that beyond the lack ofauthenticity, synthetic.
the target language samples which, while they may
Type A, syllabuses are flawed because they assume
have been moditied in other ways, have oot been
a model of language acquisition unsupported by
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research findings on language learning in or out of
language teaching, which is not task-based in the
classrooms. Where morphosyntax is concerned,
analytic sense. They include calculating distances and
research shows that people do not leam items in the
planning itineraries using maps and charts, assessing
L2 one at a time. Nor, in principle, could languages
applicants for a job on the basis ofbiographical sket-
be leamed in that way given that many items share a
ches' and answering comprehension questions and
symbiotic relationship: learning English negation, for
dialogues. These are not necessarily activities
example, entails knowing something about word
students will ever need to do or do in English outside
order, auxiliaries, and how to mark verbs for time,
the classroom, although they may be useful for
person, and number. Progress in one area depends
language learning. In the same way, activities in a
on progress in the others. In sum, according to Long
procedural syllabus are preset pedagogic tasks, not
and Crookes, synthetic syllabuses suffer from sorne
related to a set of target tasks determined by an
generic problems, most obviously their static target
analysis of a particular group of learners' future
language and production orientation. SLA research
needs. So, it seems to me that two main problems
offers no evidence to suggest that native-Itke
can come out with the procedural syllabus as pointed
exemplars of any of these synthetic units are
out by Prahbu (1987):
meaningful acquisition units, that they are acquired
1-1n the absence of a task-based n-eeds
separately, singly, in linear fashion, or that they can
identification, no rationale exists for the content of
be leamed prior tQ and separate from language use.
such a syllabus. It is impossible for anyone to verify
So, while it also involves the acquisition ofthe social
the appropriacy ofparticular pedagogie tasks for
and cultural knowledge, language learning is ~
a ,given group of learners without objective
psycholinguistic process, nota linguistic one in a
evaluation criteria, one of which must surely be
synthetic, Type A, syllabus. But, wbat about analytic
relevance to learner needs.
A- Procedural syllwbllSl!s
2-Gradingtasks dif.Jiculty and sequencing tasks both
Procedural syllabuses iUustrate analytic syllabuses.
'qppear to be arbitrary processes, left partly to real-
The procedural syllabuses are associated with the -
time impressionistic judgements by the classroom
work ofPrabhu, Ramani and.others on the'Banga:'
teacher (p. 85).
lore/Madras communicational Teaching Project.
Prabhu (1987) denies the sufficiency of
After dealing with the procedural syllabuses; 1would
comprehensible input (Krashen, 1982), but he sup-
like to turn now to process syllabuses.
ports the idea that students need plenty of
A- Process syllabuses
opportunity to develop their comprehension abilities
Another approach to course design is the process
before any production is demanded of them. Prabhu
syllabus. The early rationale for process syllabuses
(1987) recognises that acquisition of a linguistic
was educational and philosophical, not primarily
structure is not an instant, one-step procedure, and
psycholinguistic, with curriculum design proposaIs
claims with Krashen that language form is acquired
for other subject areas constituting an important
subconsciously through "the operation of sorne
influence. It is a plan for classroom work. It focuses
internal ofabstract rules and prinèiples.(p.70). When
upon three processes: communicating, leaming, and
the learner's attention is focused on meaning, for
the purposeful social activity of teachingllearning in
Pabhu, the basis of each lesson is a problem or a
a classroom. It is a syllabus which addresses the
task. It seems to me that this definition of task is
decisions which have to be made and the working
fairly abstract, oriented towards cognition, process
procedures which have to be undertaken for
and pedagogy. For Prabhu, task should be
language leaning in a group. This process syllabus
intellectually challenging enough to maintain
provides teacher and leamers with the explicit task
student's interest, for, that is what will sustain
of selecting, subdividing and sequencing what is to
learners' efforts at task completion, focus on
be achieved in an on-going and negotiated way. This
meaning, and as part of that process engages them
type of syllabus emphasizes upon evaluation. Once
in confronting the task linguistics demands, since
a particular working procedure is agreed, once
difficulty is initially a matter of trial and error. The
purposes and content have been identified and
examples of tasks Prabhu provides are of the kind
activities have been undertaken, teacher and leamers
familiar in the many variants of communicative
together share outcomes from the work.
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Achievernents and difficulties have to he carefully
pursuance l?tforeseen or emergent goals H:ithin a
identified 50 tbat they may be related back to chosen
social milieu" (p.l 0).
procedure purposes and content. and chosen
activities. The process syllabus thereby involves
Breen and Candlin's focus was and is the learner
leacher and Jeamers in a cycle of decision-making
and learning processes and preferences. not the
througb which their own preferred ways ofworki ng,
language or language learning processes. They argue
their own on-going content syllabus, and choices of
that any syllabus, preset or not. is constantly subject
appropriate activities and tasks are realized in the
to negotiation and reinterpretation by teachers and
classroom. It is important to note that the process
learners in the classroom. Candlin (1984) suggests
syllabus is unconventional in lhal it does not provide
that what a syllabus consists of can only he discerned
a plan of what is to be achieved through teaching
after a course is over. by observing not what was
and is a framework within which teacher
planned, but what took place. Both Breen and
and leamers decide how they should best work upon
Candlin claim that learning should be and can only
subject-matter. Panicipation in a process syllabus
be the product ofnegotiation. which in turn drives
leads to a creation ofa panicular syIlabus ofcontent
in an on-going way by the classroom group.
Therefore. il addresses the major problems related
Breen (1984) advocates replacement of the
to the Implementation ofan external syllabus; how
traditional conception ofthe syIJabus as a list ofitems
to relate snch a svllabus to the internai svllabus ofa
making up a repertoire of communication by one
group of leamers and how to gradually create the
promotes a learner's capacity for
classroom syllabus of that group which must be a
communication. He advocates incorporating a
synthesis of external and leamers' syllabus. The
content syllabus within a process syllabus as an
process syllabus is the means whereby extemal and
external check on what students are supposed to
imernaJ syllabuses are negotiated and through such
negotiation. how a synthesized classroom syllabus
may he created.
Process syllabuses deal in pedagogic tasks whose
availability is not based on any prior needs
;\\ccording to Breen (] 987):
identification which raises problems for selection.
In their work, Breen and Candlin (Breen. 1984;
-0 das!~roomgroup represents the meeting-
CandI in. 1987) advocate making the range, criteria
point l?lthree type.~ of.ryllabuse.~: there is the pre-
and parameters of choice known to teachers and
p/anned - sometime.~ externally planned - syllabus
learners. but are keen to preserve flexibility to aIJow
which Ihe leacher ha.~ to reinterpret in order to
for learners and circumstances changing. It seems
impiement il with hi.~ /earner.~. There are learner
to me that pre-specification of syllabus content is
.~yllahuses and the third syllabus i.~ that .~yllabus
precisely what Breen and Candlin seek to avoid, and
whü:h is dai/y worked out and created by teacher
accept that pre-specification in most syIJabus and
and learner.~ together which is an Inevitable
the commercially published materials that embody
..,ynthe.5i.'i of the other IWo. The proces.'i jyllabus
them suffer from ail the weaknesses they allege.
provides a means whereby content or su~iect-mal1er
However, arbitrary selection is due to the lack of
can be related to hoU' su('h content may be worked
needs identification. not to pre-specification.
UpOIl in a c/assroom, in other lWJrds. il gives the
specifie methodology related to the syllabus,
For the process syllabus, no explicit provision is
II. p.162}.
made for a focus on language form and 1 think this
is an error.
This. outJook is reflected in CandIin's (J 987)
definition oftask:
Now, what is about Task syllabuses which are based
on Task-based language Teaching.
"one l?f a .'iet of .'iequenceable. problem-
B- Task syl/abuses and Task-based language
po,<;inl( actlvitles involving learners and teachers in
somejoint selectionfrom a ran~e ofvaried c()~nilive
For Long and Crookes (1992):
and communicative procedure applied to existing
and new knowledge in the collective exploration and

"This approach derives tram SLA research,
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particularly descriptive and experimental studies
comparing tutored andnaturalistic learning. Results
suggestthatformal instruction (a) has no effect on

developmental sequences, (b) has a positive e.fJect
on the use ofsome learning strategies, (c) clearly
improves rate oflearning and (d) probably improves

the ultimate level ofSecond Language Allainment"
Once target tasks have been identified via the needs
analysis, the next step is to classifY them into (target)
task types. For example, in a course for trainee flight.
These advantages for instruction cannot he explained
attendants, the serving of breakfast, lunch, dinner,
as the result of classroom learners having received
etc. might be classified as serving food and
more or hetter comprehensible input, but insufficient
beverages. Pedagogie tasks are then derived from
for major aspects of SLA. However, awareness of
the task types and sequenced to form the task-based
certain classes of linguistic items in the input is
syllabus. It is the pedagogic tasks that teachers and
necessary for learning to occur, and drawing learners'
students actually work on in the classroom.
attention to those items facilitates development when .
certain conditions are met. So, a focus on form can
The grading and sequencing of pedagogic tasks is
help SLA (a) work on marked or more marked L2
also function of which various pedagogic options
forms, can transfer to imply unmarked or less marked
are selected to accompany their use. It is here that
items, (b) giving increased salience to non-salient
sorne of the negotiation of learning process urged
items may decrease the time needed for learners to
by Breen and Candlin in their work can be built into
notice them in the input, which appears to be
Task-Based Language Teaching, and here, too, that
necessary ifinput is to become intake, (c) Instruction
the findings ofa number oflines of second language
targeted at any appropriate level speeds up passage
classroom research over sorne years ago are most
through a developmental sequence and extends the
helpful, such task-based syllabuses would imply
scope of application of a new rule.
assessment of student leaming by way oftask-based
criterion-referenced tests, whose focus is whether
The evidence ofpositive effects for instruction does
or not students can perform sorne task to criterion,
not support a retum to a focus on forms in language
as established by experts in the field, not their ability
teaching, that is, to the use of sorne kind of synthetic
to complete discrete-point grammar items.
syllabus and a linguistically isolating teaching
"method", such as audiolingualism, the Silent Way,
Task-Based Language Teaching is distinguished by
or Total Physical Response. A focus on forms is ruled
its compatibility with research findings from
out by the evidence form SLA research of the need
classroom- centered research when making decisions
to respect "learner syllabuses", and the related
concerning the design ofmaterials and methodology.
evidence against full native-speaker target-code
However, its research base is limited and sorne of
forms as viable acquisition units, at the very least
the second language acquisition and classroom
where beginners are concerned. On the other hand,
research findings referred to may bear alternative
the evidence does motivate a focus on form that is
interpretations, given the sm aIl scale and
the use ofpedagogic tasks and other methodological
questionable methodology of sorne of the studies
options which draw students' attention to aspects
involved. Given an adequate needs analysis, selection
oftarget language code. Leamer's pmduction, hoth
oftasks is relatively straightforward. Assessing task
grammatical and ungrammatical, is ol).e source of
difficulty and sequencing pedagogic task are more·
cues for teachers as to when this will be
problematic. There is also the problem of
(un)productive; interlanguage-sentence diagnostic
"finiteness". How many tasks and task types are
testing is another. Which aspects of the language,
there? Where does one task end the next begin? How
when, how and for which learners, aIl need to be
many levels ofanalysis are needed? What hierarchical
precisely specified. That is why Task-based
relationships do exist between one level and another?
syllabuses require a needs identification to be
conducted in terms of the real-world target tasks
Task-Based Language Teaching is relatively
learners are preparing to undertake. Valuable
structured in the sense of being pre-planned and
expertise in procedures for conducting such needs
guided and thereby affects the learner's autonomy.
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Like Long and Crookes (1992), 1 think process
their implementation, and the role of movement in
syllabuses, procedural syllabuses and Task-Based
the late acquisition of syntactic affixes. Affixes do
Language Teaching (TBLT) differ in the rationale
not appear to have the triggering status in L2 that
for their proposaIs, in the ways they define task, in
they do in LI, and movement of lexical heads is
whether they conduct a fonnal needs analysis to
implemented early and independlfntly of affix-
detennine syllabus content in how tasks are se1ected
movement. l think, this ana1ysis meets the long-
and sequenced, and in the methodological options,
standing complaint that the L2 Eng1ish morpheme
such as group work, and a focus on fonn, that they
order lacks generalizability and is unrevealing about
prescribe and proscribe.
L2 acquisition.
AlI three proposaIs have sorne areas of agreement,
Bail~y, Madden and Krashen (1974) in their article
such as their rej ection ofsynthetic type A, syllabuses
"is there a 'Natural sequence' in Adult Second
and the units of analysis on which they are based,
Language Learning?" revea1 that there is a highly
and their adoption of task as an alternative.
consistent order of relative difficulty in the use of
Consequently, aIl share certain problems: the
the functors (grammatical morphemes) across
difficulty ofdifferentiating tasks, especially tasks and
different language backgrounds, indicating that
subtasks nested within them, which in turn raises
learners are experiencing intra-Ianguage difficulties;
questions as to the finiteness oftasks (ortask types)
also, the adult resu1ts ofthe bilingual syntax measure
or their generative capacity. Another problem is the
applied to 73 adult learners of English as a second
issue of task difficulty, that is, of detennining the
language in order to investigate accuracy of usage
relevant grading and sequencing criteria. This aspect
for eight English functors agreed with those obtained
leads to functional categories and acquisition orders.
by Du1ay and Burt (1973) for 5 to 8 yearold children
and adults use common strategies and process
linguistic data in fundamentally similar ways. So,
Dulay and Burt (1973) found an invariant order of
acquisition in children learning English as a second
Another approach in SLA is revealed by Zob1 and
language and its implications for a developmental
Liceras (1994) in their article "Functional Categories
theory imply that "people should leave the leaning
and Acquisition Orders" (pp.159-180) where they
to the children" (p.257); teaching syntax is not
analysed sorne earlier studies of English LI and L2
necessary. It may be the case that second language
morpheme orders. They base their analysis on
learning in children can effectively take place in the
CUITent functional categories theory. For them, the
absence ofa fonnallinguistic environment.
recent work on functional categories provides a
framework that makes it possible to undertake a
Adults show nearly the same rankings and a simi1ar
principle explanation ofsalient differences between
degree of invariance; instruction is directly related
the LI and the L2 morphemes orders. This
to English language proficiency in them, while
framework does not make specific pn~dictions about
exposure to English in infonnal environment is not. '
order of acquisition, but it enables people to see
ln other words, adults seem to profit from
interesting syntactic parallels between bound and free
instruction, an instruction that often presents the
morphemes within and across categories.
grammatical morphemes in an order, and the most
effective instruction is that which foIlows the
Applied to the morpheme order data, it allows people
observed order of difficulty, one with a "natural
to see natural groupings of morphemes in tenns of
category membership (DP, IP), in tenns of head
movement (lexical and affixal) and in tenns ofthe
For Pica, Kanagy and Falodun, (1993), Second
bound/free distinction. Zobl and Liceras also point
language L2 teachers and researchers devote a great
out two important discoveries. The first, pertaining
dea1 oftheir time and energy toward getting language
to LI acquisition, concems the category-specific
learners to talk. For many years teachers have relied
deve10pment of functional projection. The second,
on language 1.essons, directing learners to repeat and
pertaining L2 acquisition, concerns the cross-
practice L2 sounds, words and structures, or calling
categorical development offunctional.projections,
on them to answer questions and thereby display
the spearheading role played by free morphemes in
what they learned through instruction. More
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recently, teachers have also engaged students in
the analogy of distinctive-feature analysis in
debates, discussion role plays, and other activities
phonology which characterizes speech sounds by the
focused on functional and strategie aspects of L2
absence or presence ofa limited number offeatures,
use. Many researchers have operated within a fonnat
Bosco and Di Pietro identified among the most
of structured elicitation, asking learners to respond
common instructional strategies eleven distinctive
to pictures, readings and questions for which range
features and divided into eight psychological and
of L2 fonns and functions must be supplied. Such
three linguistic ones. With the help ofthis inventory
approaches taken may not be the most suitable means
of eleven features, Bosco and Di Poetro defined
of carrying out their work with L2 learners.
different methods by the features they have in
common and features that are specifie. Thus, the
When viewed from the perspective ofCUITent second
language teaching and learning, a more effective way
audiolingual methods are interpreted by Bosco and
to assist language learning in the classroom or to
Di Pietro as displaying features. For them, the
study the process of second language acquisition
grammar-translation method is characterized by the
(SLA) is revealed through the use ofcommunication
presence of features like central (cognitive),
tasks. So, Pica, Kanagy and Falodun validate the
nomothetic (emphasis on rules) and general (based
communication task as an important tool for teachers
on linguistic universals). The Direct Method is
and researchers by comparing the communication
interpreted as functional, affective, and molar and
task with other classroom and research activities in
the audiolingual method as functional, nomothetic,
light ofCUITent theoretical perspectives on language
divergent and systematic. None of the methods are
learning. The theoretical perspective which supports
explicitly idiographic (i.e. encouraging personal
the use of communication tasks is that which holds
expression), or explicitly cyclic. Nor do any ofthem
that language is best learned and taught through
aim at building up the language into a unified
interaction-based pedagogy, classroom opportunities
structure. This analysis has sorne pitfalls; sorne of
to perceive, comprehend, and ultimately intemalize
the features refer to teaching techniques while others
L2 words, fonns and structures are believed to be
refer to goals and others again to course design, so
most abundant during activities in which learners
it is not clear on what grounds the features couId be
and theirinterlocutors, whetker teachers or other
attributed to a method/approach except by a process
leamers can exchange infonnation and communicate
of intuitive interpretation. For example, why would
the Direct Method but not the Audiolingual Method,
be described as affective? However, the great value
Similarly, input and interactionist theories of L2
ofthis analysis is that it clarifies sorne of the options
acquisition hold that language learning is assisted
that are open to the language teaching theorists and
through the social interaction of learners and their
it establishes common elements transcending
interlocutors, particularly when they. negotiate
different methods.
toward mutual comprehension of each other,'s
message meaning. To accomplish this goal, learners
Another feature analysis of teaching approach/
request their interlocutor's help in comprehending
method was made by Krashen and Seliger (1975).
unclear ot unfamiliar linguistic input, and obtain
It identified eight features sorne of which overlap
inter-language fonn and CUITent. Then, they respond
with Bosco and Di Pietro's list;' for example, their
actordingly, through modification and manipulation
feature known as Discrete point is similar to Bosco
ofemergent and acquired L2 structures. To activate
and Di Pietro's distinction between "molar" and
acquisition processes, this interaction must be
"molecular", "divergent" and "non-divergent",
structured to provide a context whereby learners
"unified" and "non-unified". Another example
not only talk to their interlocutors but negotiate
related to one oftheir eight features is what is called
meaning with them as well.
"perfonnance channel" which refers to the separation
and combination oflistening, speaking, reading and
According to Stem (1983) "sorne atLempts have been
writing, specifie to a method. A method may demand
made to overcome the differences of approaches in
"single" channel or a "multiple channel" approach.
SLA by analyzing methods or approaches
For instance, the Audioingual Method gives prioriry
systematically." (pp.487-8). One ofthese was made
to listening and speaking. This feature called
by Bosco and Di Pietro (1970). Setting out from
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Sciences sociales et humaines
"performance channel", coincides with Bosco and
motivate a particular teaching approach.
Di Pietro's feature known as divergent versus non-
divergent, i.e., the separation or non-separation of
l accept the need for an approach based on a
language skills. So, the analysis of features of
threefold ways (structural, functional and
language teaching by Krashen and Seliger was
interactional). This is an attempt to integrate in a
largely prompted by points at issue during the early
systematic way three strands of which each has a
seventies on audiolingual and cognitive theories and
contribution to make to the acquisition of
is therefore less comprehensive than that of Bosco
proficiency. The issue of course is how most
and Di Pietro. Neither analysis in its entirety is
effectively these three components (structural,
systematic enough to offer to a coherent and
functional and interactional) can in practice be
comprehensive statement of language teaching.
combined so that they are integrated in a true sense
However, both analyses contribute usefui analytical
and not simply three different parallel approaches.
categories to a conceptual clarification of language
About the conceptual analysis ofapproaches, let us
1. Bailey, (N.); Madden, (c.) and Krashen,
say with Richards et al. (1986) that:
(D. S.) 1974. Is there a "Natural Sequence"
in adult Second Language Learning?
"There are three views: the first and the most
Language learning, vol. 26 N° 2; pp 235-
traditional ofthe three, is the structural view, the
view, that language learning is a system of
structurally related element for the co ding of

2. Bosco, (F. J.) & Di Pietro, (R. J.), 1970.
meaning. The target of language learning is seen
"Instructional strategies: their psychological
to be the mastery ofelements ofthis system which
and linguistic bases". International Review
are generally defined in terms ofphonological units,
ofApplied Linguistics: p.I-29.
grammatical units, and lexical units. The second
view of language is the functional view, the view
3. Breen, (M. P.) 1984. "Process syllabuses for
that language is a vehicle for the expression of
the language classroom". In C. J. Brumfit
functional meaning; This theory emphasizes the
(Ed). General English Syllabus Design, ELT
semantic and communicative dimension rather than
Documents, 118.
merely the grammatical characteristics oflanguage,
and leads to a specification and organisation of
4. Idem, 1984. "Learner Contribution to task
language teachingcontent bycategories ofmeaning
design in C. N. Candlin& D. Murphy" (Ed),
and function rather than by elements of structure
rasks in language learning. London:
and grammar. Wilkin's notional Syllabuses (1976)
Prentice Hall International.
is an attempt to spell out the implications of this
view. The third view oflanguage can be called the
5. Idem, 1987. "Contemporary Paradigms in
interaction view. It sees language as a vehicle for
Syllabus", Parts IIII Language Teaching.
the realization of inter-personal relations and for
that performance of social transactions between
6. Candlin, (c. N.), 1984. "Syllabus design as
a critical process in C.J Brumfit (ed). General
English Syllabus Design, ELT Documents,
Language is seen as a tool for the creation
and maintenance of social relations. Language
teaching content, acèording to this view, may be

7. Idem, 1987. Towards task-based learning.
specified and organised by patterns of exchange
In C. N. CandIin & D.F. Murphy (Ed) Tasks
and interaction or may be shaped by the inclinations
in language learning; London: Prentice Hall
oflearn~r as interactors" (p.17).
Structural, functional or interactional models of
language provide the theoretical framework that may
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Sciences sociales et humaines
8. Dulay, (H.C.) and Burt, (M.K.), 1973.
13. Richards, (J. c.) and Rodgers, (T.C.),
"Should we teach children syntax?"
Approaches and Methods in
Language Learning 23:245-258.
Language Teaching: A Description and
Analysis. Cambridge: C.U.P.
9. Krashen. (S.D.) and Seliger, (H.), 1975.
"The essential contribution of formai
14. Stern, (H. H.), 1983. Fundamental
instruction in adult second language
Concepts of Language Teaching. Oxford:
learning." TESOL Quarterly 9: 173-83.
10. Long, (M. H.) & Crookes, (G.), 1992.
15. White, (R.V.), 1988. The ELTcurriculum.
"Three Approaches to Task-Based Syllabus
London: Blackwell.
Design" TESOL Quarterly. Vol 26, No.l,
Spring 1992.
16. Wilkins, (D.A.), 1976. Notional Syllabuses:
A Taxonomy and ifs Relevance to Foreign
11. Pica, (T.) ; Kanagy, (R.) and Falodun, (J.),
Language Curriculum Development Oxford
1993. "Choosing and Using Communication
Tasks for second Language Instruction and
Research." Multilingual Matters. LTD 93.
17. Zobl, (H.) &
Liceras, (J.), 1994.
"Functional categories and Acquisition
12. Prabhu, (N.S.), 1987. Second Language
Orders". Language Learning 44: 1; March
Pedagogy: A Perspective. Oxford: O.U.P.
1994. pp. 159-180.
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