Routine and Pattern in Language Acquisition and Performance

By | Desember 10, 2016

Routine is an expression or utterance in phrase or sentences which mastered by acquirer. The acquirer usually follow what other said/ uttered even the acquirer/ speaker don’t understand the meaning and structure exactly. On Routine, an acquirer acquire whole of sentences while the language being spoken/ being listened. Usually kinds of expression are daily sentences, phrases or it commonly used. Example: How you doing (listener) → How are you doing (Sentence) and other expression usually used other speaker including daily expression like Good morning, See you, Get the point, etc.

The acquirer doesn’t care about the structure in the beginning, he/ she only use it as long as he/ she considers the expression in proper context.

Pattern is form of sentence which be developed by speaker/ learner depend creativity of speaker to chain the form. Learner can start one example of sentence, then the form can be extended (evolution form). Example: She has a book → book (object) can be changed with other word like car, pencil, member card, etc, and the other variation of the form can be passive active sentence. Therefore the learner can practice as much as learner can depend on the creativity to combine the form.

1. Position that we will dealing with routines and patterns relationship to language acquisition

Prefabricated routines means a sentence / phrase which sounded shortly and usually static word / sentence. It is difficult to develop because it is general expression.

  • Prefabricated routines in this position look like we speak a number of words / sentence which have been heard, tried, mastered, or ever use the sentence previously
  • Prefabricated routines usage in same time we will think. It can be developed into pattern. Speaker will be aware the construction of sentences.
  • Routines can be develop by speaker into other variation of sentence, however the sentences/ phrases usually static and only general expression. For instance: “good morning” can be “good afternoon”, “good night”, “ good evening” and so on

2. Automatic speech

Automatic speech is a words / sentence/ phrase which tend to be uttered automatically even uncontrolled. The words stored in the brain then it will be convey in certain occasion because the speaker usually use it. For example:

  • On conventional greeting, overused, and over-learned expression such as: “be careful”, See you, first thing first” etc
  • Pause fillers such as “well”,  “you know”
  • Certain idiom, swearing, other emotional language, commands, stereotyped question and answer such as: “Oh my God”, Shut up, etc.

3. Routines and pattern in first language

In the first language development, peters (1977) distinguish child style into two “analytic’’ and “gestalt” style.

  • For analytic style used for labeling function, referential. The children will be detailed while obtain new words, tried to follow the explanation clearly, and always tries to learn more not only stable in one form of sentences.
  • For gestalt style, children only obtain general idea of new words / sentences, they also fast to learn, moreover tend to can do communication easily, and attempt to use whole utterance in social appropriate situation or certain context.

4. Automatic speech in child second language acquisition

In second language acquisition child relies to perform more on routines and pattern than first language. They tend to repeat a sentence immediately after the words said by others people or remember it then use it later in appropriate situation. In addition, Hatch said that acquirer has greater capacity to remember longer utterance and great capacity to create language by rule formation. Then, storing, repeating, and remembering or recall and use the imitated sentences.


Kharsen, Stephen D. 2002. Second Language Acquisition and Second Language Learning. University of Southern California. (Summary of Chapter 7)

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