Second-language acquisition SLA , second-language learning , or L2 language 2 acquisition , is the process by which people learn a second language. Second-language acquisition is also the scientific discipline devoted to studying that process. The field of second-language acquisition is a subdiscipline of applied linguistics , but also receives research attention from a variety of other disciplines, such as psychology and education. A central theme in SLA research is that of interlanguage , the idea that the language that learners use is not simply the result of differences between the languages that they already know and the language that they are learning, but that it is a complete language system in its own right, with its own systematic rules. This interlanguage gradually develops as learners are exposed to the targeted language.
Required Training. The learner's attitude to the learning process has also been identified as being critically important to second-language acquisition. The concept of interlanguage has become very widespread in SLA research, and is often a basic assumption made by researchers. Illing, H. However, adults are often tied down with so many other commitments that lanfuage they are unable to fully concentrate on the learning. However, the fact that there are important cognitive and developmental differences between children and Acquisition adult in language second does not by any means imply that language should be lanuage devoid of any meaning as a rigid set of rules and patterns which are essential to master.
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- Language is the method of expressing ideas and emotions in the form of signs and symbols.
- Second-language acquisition SLA , second-language learning , or L2 language 2 acquisition , is the process by which people learn a second language.
Second-language acquisition SLA , second-language learning , or L2 language 2 acquisition , is the process by which people learn a second language. Second-language acquisition is also the scientific discipline devoted to studying that process.
The field of second-language acquisition is a subdiscipline of applied linguistics , but also receives research attention from a variety of other disciplines, such as psychology and education. A central theme in SLA research is that of interlanguage , the idea that the language that learners use is not simply the result of differences between the languages that they already know and the language that they are learning, but that it is a complete language system in its own right, with its own systematic rules.
This interlanguage gradually develops as learners are exposed to the targeted language. The order in which learners acquire features of their new language stays remarkably constant, even for learners with different native languages, and regardless of whether they have had language instruction.
However, languages that learners already know can have a significant influence on the process of learning a new one. This influence is known as language transfer. The primary factor driving SLA appears to be the language input that learners receive. The input hypothesis developed by linguist Stephen Krashen makes a distinction between language acquisition and language learning acquisition—learning distinction ,  claiming that acquisition is a subconscious process, whereas learning is a conscious one.
According to this hypothesis, the acquisition process in L2 Language 2 is the same as L1 Language 1 acquisition. The learning process is consciously learning and inputting the language being learned. Research on how exactly learners acquire a new language spans a number of different areas. Focus is directed toward providing proof of whether basic linguistic skills are innate nature , acquired nurture , or a combination of the two attributes.
Cognitive approaches to SLA research deal with the processes in the brain that underpin language acquisition, for example how paying attention to language affects the ability to learn it, or how language acquisition is related to short-term and long-term memory.
Sociocultural approaches reject the notion that SLA is a purely psychological phenomenon, and attempt to explain it in a social context.
Some key social factors that influence SLA are the level of immersion, connection to the L2 community, and gender.
Linguistic approaches consider language separately from other kinds of knowledge, and attempt to use findings from the wider study of linguistics to explain SLA. There is also a considerable body of research about how SLA can be affected by individual factors such as age and learning strategies. A commonly discussed topic regarding age in SLA is the critical period hypothesis , which suggests that individuals lose the ability to fully learn a language after a particular age in childhood.
Another topic of interest in SLA is the differences between adult and child learners. Learning strategies are commonly categorized as learning or communicative strategies, and are developed to improve their respective acquisition skills. Affective factors are emotional factors that influence an individual's ability to learn a new language. Common affective factors that influence acquisition are anxiety, personality, social attitudes, and motivation.
Individuals may also lose a language through a process called second-language attrition. This is often caused by lack of use or exposure to a language over time. The severity of attrition depends on a variety of factors including level of proficiency , age, social factors, and motivation at the time of acquisition. Finally, classroom research deals with the effect that language instruction has on acquisition. Second language refers to any language learned in addition to a person's first language ; although the concept is named second -language acquisition, it can also incorporate the learning of third, fourth, or subsequent languages.
The term acquisition was originally used to emphasize the non-conscious nature of the learning process, [note 1] but in recent years learning and acquisition have become largely synonymous. Writers in fields such as education and psychology, however, often use bilingualism loosely to refer to all forms of multilingualism. The academic discipline of second-language acquisition is a subdiscipline of applied linguistics.
It is broad-based and relatively new. As well as the various branches of linguistics , second-language acquisition is also closely related to psychology, cognitive psychology , and education.
To separate the academic discipline from the learning process itself, the terms second-language acquisition research , second-language studies , and second-language acquisition studies are also used. SLA research began as an interdisciplinary field, and because of this it is difficult to identify a precise starting date. In the early s, some research suggested an equivalence between the acquisition of human languages and that of computer languages e.
Java by children in the 5 to 11 year age window, though this has not been widely accepted among educators. There has been much debate about exactly how language is learned, and many issues are still unresolved.
There are many theories of second-language acquisition, but none are accepted as a complete explanation by all SLA researchers. Due to the interdisciplinary nature of the field of SLA, this is not expected to happen in the foreseeable future.
Some learners start speaking straight away, although their output may consist of imitation rather than creative language use. Others may be required to speak from the start as part of a language course. For learners that do go through a silent period, it may last around three to six months. They can also memorize chunks of language, although they may make mistakes when using them. Learners typically have both an active and receptive vocabulary of around words.
They may often make grammatical errors. They are also able to share their thoughts and opinions. Krashen has also developed a number of hypotheses discussing the nature of second language learners' thought processes and the development of self-awareness during second language acquisition.
The time taken to reach a high level of proficiency can vary depending on the language learned. Department of State , which compiled approximate learning expectations for a number of languages for their professional staff native English speakers who generally already know other languages. Adults who learn a second language differ from children learning their first language in at least three ways: children are still developing their brains whereas adults have mature minds, and adults have at least a first language that orients their thinking and speaking.
Although some adult second-language learners reach very high levels of proficiency, pronunciation tends to be non-native. This lack of native pronunciation in adult learners is explained by the critical period hypothesis. When a learner's speech plateaus, it is known as fossilization.
Some errors that second-language learners make in their speech originate in their first language. For example, Spanish speakers learning English may say "Is raining" rather than "It is raining", leaving out the subject of the sentence. This kind of influence of the first language on the second is known as negative language transfer.
French speakers learning English, however, do not usually make the same mistake of leaving out "it" in "It is raining. It is important to note that not all errors occur in the same ways; even two individuals with the same native language learning the same second language still have the potential to utilize different parts of their native language. Likewise, these same two individuals may develop near-native fluency in different forms of grammar.
Also, when people learn a second language, the way they speak their first language changes in subtle ways. These changes can be with any aspect of language, from pronunciation and syntax to the gestures the learner makes and the language features they tend to notice.
Learner language is the written or spoken language produced by a learner. It is also the main type of data used in second-language acquisition research. It is not yet possible to inspect these representations directly with brain scans or similar techniques, so SLA researchers are forced to make inferences about these rules from learners' speech or writing.
Originally, attempts to describe learner language were based on comparing different languages and on analyzing learners' errors. However, these approaches weren't able to predict all the errors that learners made when in the process of learning a second language. To explain this kind of systematic error, the idea of the interlanguage was developed. A learner's interlanguage is not a deficient version of the language being learned filled with random errors, nor is it a language purely based on errors introduced from the learner's first language.
Rather, it is a language in its own right, with its own systematic rules. There are three different processes that influence the creation of interlanguages: . The concept of interlanguage has become very widespread in SLA research, and is often a basic assumption made by researchers. In the s, several studies investigated the order in which learners acquired different grammatical structures. This supported the idea that there were factors other than language transfer involved in learning second languages, and was a strong confirmation of the concept of interlanguage.
However, the studies did not find that the orders were exactly the same. Although there were remarkable similarities in the order in which all learners learned second-language grammar, there were still some differences among individuals and among learners with different first languages.
It is also difficult to tell when exactly a grammatical structure has been learned, as learners may use structures correctly in some situations but not in others. For example, if neither feature B nor feature D can be acquired until feature A has been acquired and if feature C cannot be acquired until feature B has been acquired but if the acquisition of feature D does not require the possession of feature B or, therefore, of feature C , then both acquisition order A, B, C, D and acquisition order A, D, B, C are possible.
Although second-language acquisition proceeds in discrete sequences, it does not progress from one step of a sequence to the next in an orderly fashion. One important difference between first-language acquisition and second-language acquisition is that the process of second-language acquisition is influenced by languages that the learner already knows. Language transfer often occurs when learners sense a similarity between a feature of a language they already know and a feature of the interlanguage they have developed.
Language transfer has been the subject of several studies, and many aspects of it remain unexplained. The primary factor affecting language acquisition appears to be the input that the learner receives. Stephen Krashen took a very strong position on the importance of input, asserting that comprehensible input is all that is necessary for second-language acquisition. Further evidence for input comes from studies on reading: large amounts of free voluntary reading have a significant positive effect on learners' vocabulary, grammar, and writing.
The type of input may also be important. One tenet of Krashen's theory is that input should not be grammatically sequenced. He claims that such sequencing, as found in language classrooms where lessons involve practicing a "structure of the day", is not necessary, and may even be harmful. For example, students enrolled in French- language immersion programs in Canada still produced non-native-like grammar when they spoke, even though they had years of meaning-focused lessons and their listening skills were statistically native-level.
Researchers have also pointed to interaction in the second language as being important for acquisition. According to Long's interaction hypothesis the conditions for acquisition are especially good when interacting in the second language; specifically, conditions are good when a breakdown in communication occurs and learners must negotiate for meaning.
Much modern research in second-language acquisition has taken a cognitive approach. This puts them in direct contrast with linguistic theories, which posit that language acquisition uses a unique process different from other types of learning. The dominant model in cognitive approaches to second-language acquisition, and indeed in all second-language acquisition research, is the computational model.
This retained input is known as intake. Then, learners convert some of this intake into second-language knowledge, which is stored in long-term memory. Finally, learners use this second-language knowledge to produce spoken output. The mental processes that underlie second-language acquisition can be broken down into micro-processes and macro-processes.
Grammatical theories. Bilingualism neurology Dynamic approach to second language development International auxiliary language Language learning aptitude Language acquisition Language complexity List of common misconceptions about language learning List of language acquisition researchers Native-language identification Psycholinguistics Second-language attrition Sociolinguistics Theories of second-language acquisition Vocabulary learning. Littleton: Libraries Unlimited. Wired : According to Long's interaction hypothesis the conditions for acquisition are especially good when interacting in the second language; specifically, conditions are good when a breakdown in communication occurs and learners must negotiate for meaning. This influence is known as language transfer.
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This article provides a brief but concise overview of three aspects of Second Language Acquisition SLA : learner motivation, role of interaction, role of vocabulary. The authors, using research, define these areas, note their importance, and provide limited practical suggestions on how to incorporate or support them in a classroom setting.
Learner motivation addresses integrative and instrumental motivation and how setting, context, goal achievement, strategies and outside opportunities affect learner motivation.
Role of interaction is defined as communication between individuals particularly negotiating meaning and focuses on task-based learning and teaching and the role of teaching grammar. The role of vocabulary in SLA section addresses the research on and possible ways to incorporate incidental vocabulary, sight vocabulary, word families, role of reading, strategies, and meaning negotiation.
To read and understand the material requires no training. However as it is an introductory piece greater in depth understanding of the concepts and how to apply them in teaching or program development is required. The focus on form may be included here as a way to underscore how typically non-interactive activities e.
Reviewer 1: This is an easy to read digest of research on the effect of learner motivation, the role of interaction, and the role of vocabulary in second language acquisition.
The conclusion points out that the research proves to substantiate many instructional practices in use in adult ESL classes. Programs looking to justify their practices will find this resource useful, given the emphasis federal funding has put on research-based practices.
People seeking to increase their knowledge of Second Language Acquisition Research could draw upon the extensive although slightly dated bibliography. The biggest drawback to this resource is that the research coming out of Portland State deals specifically with the adult ESL population, whereas much of the research cited in this resource was done with second language learners with different demographic profiles than those commonly found in the adult education field.
It concisely summarizes research in three areas motivation, interaction and vocabulary. The three areas remain relevant to today's discussions and priorities: vocabulary as it relates to transition; motivation as it relates to learner persistence; interaction as key to workforce and community success.
Each section contains a summary of ideas of one of the areas followed by research to support it and an example or two to illustrate how a corresponding activity would be implemented. The vocabulary section is useful. There is often not an intentional approach to teaching vocabulary.
Here there are several strong and different ideas to promote systematic practice. Teachers could use the extensive list of resources at the end to formulate research questions from the titles and gain insight into how research is developed.
This site includes links to information created by other public and private organizations. The U. Department of Education does not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness, or completeness of this non-ED information. The inclusion of these links is not intended to reflect their importance, nor is it intended to endorse views expressed, or products or services offered, on these non-ED sites.
Professional Development. Target Audience. Instructional Staff. Required Training. What the experts say. View Resource. Adult English Language Learners.