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SLA: Universal Hypothesis and A Neurofunctional Theory

6. The Universal Hypothesis
A language pattern or phenomenon which occurs in all known languages.
For example, it has been suggested that:
a. if a language has dual number for referring to just two something, it also that PLURAL number (for referring to more than two). This type of universal is sometimes called an implication universal.

b. There is a high probability that the word referring to the female parent will start with
NASAL consonant, e.g. /m/ in English mothe, in German Mutter,  in Swahili mama and in Chinese (Mandarin) muqin.

The Hypothesis provides an interesting account of how the linguistic properties of target language and the learner’s first language may influence the course development.
The value of the Universal hypothesis for SLA theory is twofold: (1) it focuses attention on the nature on the target language itself, and (2) it provides a suitable and persuasive reconsideration of transfer as an important factor in SLA.  In addition, the Universal Hypothesis operates on the assumption that linguistic knowledge is homogeneous  and, therefore, ignores variability.

7. A Neurofunctional Theory
The basic premise of a neurofunctional view  of SLA is that there is a connection between and the neural anatomy. It is important to recognize, as Hatch (1983a:213) puts it, ‘there is no single black box’ for language in the brain.
Lamendella claims that SLA can be explained neurofunctionally with reference to (1) which neurofunctional system is used-the communication or cognitive-and (2) which level within the chosen neurofunctional system is engage.

Neurofunctional explanations of SLA are based on the premise that is possible to trace the neurolinguistic correlates of specific language function.  Neurolinguistic and neurofunctional explanations are perhaps best treated as affording additional understanding about SLA, rather than an explanation of it. However, in the long run it will be useful if psycholinguistic construct used to explain SLA can be matched up with neurofunctional mechanisms.


There are seven theories of Second Language Acquisition. They are:
1. The Acculturation Model
2. Accommodation Theory
3. Discourse Theory
4. The Monitor Model
5. The Variable Competence Model
6. The Universal Hypothesis
7. A Neurofunctional Theory
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