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Domain I: Language Concepts and Language Acquisition


articulation and perception of speech sounds


the sound system of a language


the study of the structure and formation of words


the grammatical arrangement of words in sentences


a language user's knowledge of words


the study of language meaning


stress, intonation, loudness, pitch level, juncture, speaking rate


the use of language in a social context


in a language, the smallest distinctive sound unit


a variant of a phoneme that does not change meaning

code switching

Shifting back and forth between languages in the same conversation.


two words which are pronounced the same way but differ in meaning or spelling or both (e.g. bare and bear)

Aquisition Learning Hypothesis

Acquisition by subconscious process and learning through instruction are two separate processes and learners do both to acquire language.

Natural Order Hypothesis

Grammatical structures are acquired in a predictable order, irrespective of the language being learned.

Monitor Hypothesis

an internal editing device which comes into play when there is sufficient time and conscious knowledge to communicate correctly.

Input Hypothesis

Language acquisition is the result of comprehensible language input and not of language production.

Affective Filter Hypothesis

Filter that determines how much a person learns in a formal or informal language setting. Comprises affective elements that may block the acquisition process.

Silent Stage Period

Students new to acquiring language are silent until comfortable speaking. May last up to one year.

Common Underlying Proficiency of Languages (CUP)

Explains that in surface languages appear to be different. In deep structures, languages are interdependent.

Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills (BICS)

Social/conversational language which learners develop approximately within the first two years after initial exposure to new language.

Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency (CALP)

Academic language which learners develop within five to seven years without ESL methods.


Provides many cues for the learner to access information (realia, video, plays, illustrations).


Learner must rely on language to access information (lecture, reading a text, worksheets).

Cognitively Demanding

Learner must have enough background knowledge to scaffold new ideas that are academically challenging.

Cognitively Undemanding

Language required is social and not specialized.

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