BASIC ASSUMPTION ABOUT LANGUAGE

With regard to the nature of language, the silent way has a different point of view from other contemporary methods.

  1. Language is seen as groups of sound arbitrarily associated with specific meanings and organized into sentences or strings of meaningfull units by grammar rules (richard and rodges, 1986: 101). So, the focus in syllabus design is on the form of the target language to be martered and the rules for combining them. The syllabus is composed of linguistic strucrures. In cattegno’s view, there is a core of “functional vocabulary which permith every one of the structure of the language, however complex to be formed” (cattegno, 1976: 54). These would include presence or absence of gender, once the basic vocabulary has been masteed. Thus, the emphasis is not on acquiring an extensive vocabulary but on acquiring basic patterns and vocabulary.
  2. The skills of speaking, listening, reading, and writing reiforce one another. Consequently, language teacher has to consider these four skills in dealing with the language material. He/she may not leave one skill behind the others. Language teacher is supposed to deal with all four skills when working on each linguistic objective. This assumtion, together with the first assumption, has a great impact on how the target language is learned. The structural view of the silent way sees the target language as “mastery of elements of the system (of the target language), which are generally defined in terms of phonological units, grammatical operations, and lexical items” (richards and rodgers, 1986: 17 and 2001). Based on the phonological units language learners learn ho to produce the sounds of the target language, first in isolation (phonemes), then in combinations (words), and then in string of words to work on the melody of the target language. Later, using vocabulary language learners will be guide to use grammatical units and grammatical operations.

Language is a substitude for experience. So, in this method experience gives meaning to the target language (richard and rodgers, 1986: 101 and 2001). Therefore, in learning a target language, learners should experience using the target language by facing physical objects that can be of assistance in creating experience. This also implies that language learners are taught the target language by having their senses: touch, listen, smell, and even taste if necessary. Langugage teacher’s job is to help language learners make connection, not to evaluate their attempts.

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