Skip to main content Accessibility help

Negative Feedback in Child NS-NNS Conversation

  • Rhonda Oliver (a1)


This paper reports on a study that examines the pattern of interaction in child native speaker (NS)–nonnative speaker (NNS) conversation to determine if the NSs provide negative feedback to their NNS conversational partners. It appears that just as children are able to modify their input for their less linguistically proficient conversational partners in first language acquisition (Snow, 1977), so too are children able to modify their interactions for NNS peers in the second language acquisition process and, in doing so, provide negative feedback. Two forms of NS modification were identified in this study as providing reactive and implicit negative feedback to the NNS. These were (a) negotiation strategies, including repetition, clarification requests, and comprehension checks, and (b) recasts. The results indicated that NSs respond differentially to the grammaticality and ambiguity of their NNS peers' conversational contributions. Furthermore, NS responses (negotiate, recast, or ignore) appeared to be triggered by the type and complexity of NNS errors, although it was more likely overall that negative feedback would be used rather than the error ignored. Additionally, evidence suggested that negative feedback was incorporated by the NNSs into their interlanguage systems. This indicates that not only does negative evidence exist for child second language learners in these types of conversations, but that it is also usable and used by them in the language acquisition process.



Hide All
Allright, R. L. (1975). Problems in the study of the language teacher's treatment of learner error. In Burt, M. K. & Dulay, H. C. (Eds.), On TESOL '75 (pp. 96109). Washington, DC: TESOL.
Aston, G. (1986). Trouble-shooting in interaction with learners: The more the merrier? Applied Linguistics, 7, 128143.
Baker, N. D., & Nelson, K. E. (1984). Recasting and related conversational techniques for triggering syntactic advances by young children. First Language, 5, 322.
Beck, M. L., & Eubank, L. (1991). Acquisition theory and experimental design: A critique of Tomasello and Herron. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 13, 7376.
IIIBohannon, J. N., MacWhinney, B., & Snow, C. (1990). No negative evidence revisited: Beyond learnability or who has to prove what to whom. Developmental Psychology, 26, 221226.
IIIBohannon, J. N., & Stanowicz, L. (1988). The issue of negative evidence: Adult responses to children's language errors. Developmental Psychology, 24, 684689.
Brown, R., & Hanlon, C. (1970). Derivational complexity and order of acquisition in child speech. In Hayes, J. (Ed.), Cognition and the development of language (pp. 155207). New York: Wiley.
Chaudron, C. (1986). Teachers' priorities in correcting learners' errors in French immersion classes. In Day, R. (Ed.), Talking to learn Conversation in second language acquisition (pp. 6484). Rowley, MA: Newbury House.
Chaudron, C. (1988). Second language classrooms: Research on teaching and learning. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Chomsky, N. (1981). Lectures on government and binding. Dordrecht: Foris.
Chun, A. E., Day, R. R., Chenoweth, N. A., & Luppescu, S. (1982). Errors, interaction, and corrections: A study of native-nonnative conversations. TESOL Quarterly, 16, 537546.
Crookes, G., & Rulon, K. A. (1985). Incorporation of corrective feedback in native speaker/non-native speaker conversation (Technical Report No. 3). Center for Second Language Classroom Research, Social Science Research Institute, University of Hawaii, Honolulu.
Demetras, M. J., Post, K. N., & Snow, C. E. (1986). Feedback to first language learners: The role of repetitions and clarification questions. Journal of Child Language, 13, 275292.
Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs. (1984). Australian Second Language Proficiency Ratings. Canberra: Australian Government Publishing Service.
Farrar, M. J. (1990). Discourse and the acquisition of grammatical morphemes. Journal of Child Language, 17, 607624.
Farrar, M. J. (1992). Negative evidence and grammatical morpheme acquisition. Developmental Psychology, 28, 221226.
Furrow, D., Baillie, C., McLaren, J., & Moore, C. (1993). Differential responding to two- and three-year-olds' utterances: The roles of grammaticality and ambiguity. Journal of Child Language, 20, 363375.
Gass, S., & Lakshmanan, U. (1991). Accounting for interlanguage subject pronouns. Second Language Research, 7, 181203.
Gold, E. (1967). Language identification in the limit. Information and Control, 10, 447474.
Gordon, P. (1990). Learnability and feedback. Developmental Psychology, 26, 217220.
Grimshaw, J., & Pinker, S. (1989). Positive and negative evidence in language acquisition. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 12, 341342.
Hirsh-Pasek, K., Treiman, R., & Schneiderman, M. (1984). Brown and Hanlon revisited: Mothers' sensitivity to ungrammatical forms. Journal of Child Language, 11, 8188.
Krashen, S. D. (1977). Some issues relating to the Monitor Model. In Brown, H., Yorio, C., & Crymes, R. (Eds.), On TESOL '77 (pp. 144158). Washington, DC: TESOL.
Krashen, S. D. (1982). Principles and practice in second language acquisition. New York: Pergamon Press.
Krashen, S. D. (1985). The input hypothesis. London: Longman.
Krashen, S. D. (1989). We acquire vocabulary and spelling by reading: Additional evidence for the Input Hypothesis. Modern Language Journal, 73, 440464.
Krashen, S. D. (1993). Sheltered subject-matter teaching. In Oller, J. W. Jr. (Ed.), Methods that work (2nd ed., pp. 143148). Boston: Heinle and Heinle.
Larsen-Freeman, D., & Long, M. H. (1991). An introduction to second language acquisition research. London: Longman.
Levine, M. (1959). A model of hypothesis behaviour in discrimination learning set. Psychological Review, 66, 353366.
Levine, M. (1963). Mediating processes in humans at the outset of discrimination learning. Psychological Review, 70, 254276.
Lightbown, P., & White, L. (1987). The influence of linguistic theories on language acquisition research. Language Learning, 37, 483510.
Long, M. H. (1977). Teacher feedback on learner error: Mapping cognitions. In Brown, H., Yorio, C., & Crymes, R. (Eds.), On TESOL 77 (pp. 278293) Washington, DC: TESOL.
Long, M. H. (1980). Input, interaction, and second language acquisition. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of California, Los Angeles.
Long, M. H. (in press-a). The role of the linguistic environment in second language acquisition. In Ritchie, W. C. & Bhatia, T. K. (Eds.), Handbook of language acquisition: Vol. 2. Second language acquisition. New York: Academic Press.
Long, M. H. (in press-b). Task-based language teaching. Oxford: Blackwell.
Meisel, J. M., Clahsen, H., & Pienemann, M. (1981). On determining developmental stages in natural second language acquisition. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 3, 109135.
Mito, K. (1993). The effects of modeling and recasting on the acquisition of L2 grammar rules. Unpublished manuscript, University of Hawaii, Manoa.
Nelson, K. E. (1991). On differentiated language-learning models and differentiated interventions. In Krasnegor, N. A., Rumbaugh, D. M., Schiefelbusch, R. L., & Studdert-Kennedy, M. S. (Eds.), Biological and behavioral determinants of language development (pp. 399428). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
Nelson, K. E., Carskaddon, G., & Bonvillian, J. D. (1973). Syntax acquisition: Impact of experimental variation in adult verbal interaction with the child. Child Development, 44, 497504.
Oliver, R. (1990). TESLese: The characteristics of ESL teachers' language. Unpublished master's thesis, University of Western Australia, Nedlands.
Oliver, R. (1995). Negotiation and feedback in child second language acquisition. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Western Australia, Nedlands.
Pavesi, M. (1986). Markedness, discoursal modes, and relative clause formation in a formal and an informal context. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 8, 3855.
Penner, S. (1987). Parental responses to grammatical and ungrammatical child utterances. Child Development, 58, 376384.
Pica, T. (1994). Research on negotiation: What does it reveal about second-language learning conditions, processes, and outcomes? Language Learning, 44(3), 493527.
Pica, T., Holliday, L., Lewis, N., & Morgenthaler, L. (1989). Comprehensible output as an outcome of linguistic demands on the learner. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 11, 6390.
Pienemann, M. (1989). Is language teachable? Applied Linguistics, 10, 5279.
Pinker, S. (1989). Resolving a learnability paradox in the acquisition of the verb lexicon. In Rice, M. L. & Schiefelbusch, R. L. (Eds.), The teachability of language. Baltimore, MD: Paul H. Brookes.
Richardson, M. A. (1993). Negative evidence and grammatical morpheme acquisition: Implications for SLA. Unpublished manuscript, University of Western Australia, Nedlands.
Schmidt, R. W. (1983). Interaction, acculturation, and the acquisition of communicative competence. In Wolfson, N. & Manes, J. (Eds.), Sociolinguistics and second language acquisition (pp. 137174). Rowley, MA: Newbury House.
Schmidt, R. W. (1990). The role of consciousness in second language learning. Applied Linguistics 11, 129158.
Snow, C. E. (1977). The development of conversation between mothers and babies. Journal of Child Language, 4, 122.
Swain, M. (1985). Communicative competence: Some roles of comprehensible output in its development. In Gass, S. M. & Madden, C. (Eds.), Input in second language acquisition (pp. 235253). Rowley, MA: Newbury House.
Swain, M. (1991). French immersion and its offshoots: Getting two for one. In Freed, B. F. (Ed.), Foreign language acquisition research and the classroom (pp. 91103). Lexington, MA: Heath.
VanPatten, B. (1988). How juries get hung: Problems with the evidence for a focus on form in teaching. Language Learning, 38, 243260.
Wexler, K., & Culicover, P. (1980). Formal principles of language acquisition. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
White, L. (1990). Implications of learnability theories for second language learning and teaching. In Halliday, M. A. K., Gibbons, J., & Nicholas, H. (Eds.), Learning, keeping, and using language (pp. 271286). Philadelphia: Benjamins.
White, L. (1991). Adverb placement in second language acquisition: Some effects of positive and negative evidence in the classroom. Second Language Research, 7, 133161.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Studies in Second Language Acquisition
  • ISSN: 0272-2631
  • EISSN: 1470-1545
  • URL: /core/journals/studies-in-second-language-acquisition
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed