CA and EA paved the way for Interlanguage theory (IL hereinafter) in . The term ‘Interlanguage’ was first introduced by Selinker ( &). The Interlanguage theory, that assumes that an active and independent learning mind Selinker believes that the evidence for interlanguage can be found. Inter-language Theory Presented to: Ma’am Mehwish. Selinker’s Five Fossilization Process Steps Over-generalization Transfer of.

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This is a brief overview of interlanguage for the reader to understand the main points. Readers are encouraged to study more in-depth to gain a full appreciation of the history, development, and implementation of this theory as it contains an extreme amount of complex information.

How far down the rabbit hole do you want to go? At the end are guiding questions for the educator to contemplate instruction and Interlangauge. Interlanguage theory tried to determine if there was a continuum in the internal grammar of learning additional languages, and through research, resolve if learners acquired L2 in much of the same fashion as L1.

Ultimately, there would be similarities, but not the same. Interlanguage viewed language development as a combination of several factors including nature of input, environment, internal processing of the learner, and influence between L1 and L2.

Thus began an explosion of research into understanding how language and the internal grammar in second language learners evolved. There has been a wide range of research investigating interlanguage with various levels, ages, and languages.


The selinksr have led to understanding interlanguage as embodying the characteristics of being systematic, dynamic, and variable. An analogy that compares to this is a person from earth moves theort live on the moon an English speaking student studying Korean.

As the person is standing on earth, he is totally an earthling at first, the student will only view Korean in terms of the English languagebut as he climbs in the spaceship and takes off as he begins to learn Koreanhis distance from the earth increases so he is not totally an earthling anymore the person starts adopting Korean language rules, structures, culture.


As the person breaks through the outer atmosphere of earth, he is still closer to earth, but he is moving towards the moon to become an alien he understands more of what it means to use Korean and to think like a Korean. The person is in between the two celestial bodies, but not a part of either one.

For this reason, interlanguage is thought of as a third language that is unique to the individual learner. The learner is in a limbo state as far as language is concerned because it neither mirrors the L1 or L2. Along with interlanguage comes a very controversial topic called fossilization. With language learning, people do not ascend to higher levels as if it is a staircase that goes from the bottom floor beginner to an extremely high second floor native speaker.

Instead of a constant step up, language learners follow spurts of growth followed by plateaus of knowledge. One way to think of this is to say that the Empire State Building has intsrlanguage stairways- stairway A on the east side of the building and stairway B on the west side of the building.

Instead of being able to take stairway A from the ground floor to the very top, the person takes stairway A up to the second floor, enters the hall, and goes to the opposite end of the building to stairway B. At stairway B, the person goes to the 3 rd floor, enters the hallway, and goes to the opposite end of the building to stairway A. This repeats over and over with the person alternating stairways and floors until the person reaches the top of the building native fluency.

Now fossilization is when a person is making their way interlanbuage bottom to top and somewhere during the process they become stuck on one floor. Likewise, if a person becomes fossilized on the 5 th floor, then it is not possible for him to reach the 6 th floor.

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Applying Interlanguage to the Language Classroom

This level is really low so his ability to communicate in that language would be almost non-existent. Interlanguage has multiple dimensions that make it impossible to list in an article like this, but interlanguage carries a lot of research to show the validity of the hypothesis.

selinekr The biggest controversy comes from the fossilization aspect that explains why learners fail to reach various levels. Some educators tend to disregard the fossilization aspect of interlanguage, but others tend to recognize that some learners do reach states where learning ceases so fossilization is possible. Interlanguage is a great theory to keep educators grounded as to what goes on in the learning process.

Educators have tendencies to believe students are huge buckets we just pour information into and they learn it. The learners may be huge buckets, but those buckets have thick filters that trap a lot of the information interlanguaeg is trying to be passed along.

Also, regardless if you believe fossilization exists, the educator should always assess where the students are not acquiring knowledge appropriately and devise better strategies and plans on teaching.

Also, interlanguage is great to use when threading together a lesson plan. The realization that students will interpret information differently should provide some guidance on how instruction of the information should be presented. Interlanguaeg first segment of the lesson plan should allow for a portion of the information to be learned, and then the following segments should review and build upon that learning.

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