This chapter called “Second Language acquisition/learning” written by George Yule basically explains some issues such as key factors which influence the learning process, how learners of different ages acquire the language and some methods and approaches related to the acquisition of that language. To begin with, there is a factor which undermines the L2 (second language) acquisition in contrast with the L1 (first language), it is the time factor and it is reflected on the amount of hours dedicated to learn it and the different things that teenagers or adults have to do. Besides, Yule establishes the difference between acquisition and learning a language. Namely acquisition is the process of “the gradual development of ability in a language by using it naturally in communicative situations” and the former means an active process of learning vocabulary and grammar of the language.

Another relevant element is “the affective filter” which is used to describe how the afraid of making mistakes and or the lack of interest in the culture of the L2 restrain their acquisition process. Fortunately, this element does not massively affect the children learning process because they are willing to take risks by nature and this is the way they acquire a language. Nevertheless, several methods and approaches have been developed to deal with these issues, among others, such as Grammar-Translation method, in which classes are conducted in L1 and grammar and lexis of L2 are translated into L1, Audiolingual method, based on constant repetition of utterances from L2, and Communicative approaches, in which the lessons are planned according to communicative instances rather than vocabulary and structures. From now on, this author explains briefly, but intensively, several concepts which deal with how learners are influenced by their L1 in the acquisition process of L2, for instance the manner of transferring ideas from L1 to L2. Moreover, “interlanguage”, an acquisition system which blends L1 and L2, plays an important role in this process but it can be impacted negatively by the concept fossilization, in which there is not progress or overcoming of mistakes.

Finally, motivation is one of the elements that play a huge role in the L2 acquisition and it can be increased in learners if teachers provide more activities which are based on risk taking activities and also if these activities contain a judicious mixture of input and output from the learners.

Personal Opinion

In my opinion, this chapter shows and explains many things which are interesting not only for teachers but also for parents who are interesting in raising their children (kids or teenagers) using two languages because, during childhood and adolescence, their language acquisition faculty is not fixed like an adult.

But what really attracted my attention from this chapter is the concept of interlanguage and its related item. In fact, this “language”, which is a sort of mixture of L1 and L2, has its own rules and a particular system of production and understanding of the L2. Nevertheless, interlanguage, because it is a variable system which depends on our own, can highly complicate our learning process. For example, we may get stuck on an element of pronunciation and that element can cloud the process of communication with others, and this concept is called fossilization.

Personally, what I can reproach Yule is two things of the same topic. The first element is that he does not explain the difference between methods and approaches. I argue the fact that every concept which is introduced is shortly explained but this was not the case. Secondly, this topic is usually addressed to teachers because it is something related to our work and also I think that this topic was not well-connected with the previous one, which is the affective filter.

Overall, I conclude this reaction paper saying that this chapter is friendly for every reader because it does not contain a complex jargon which may confuse readers who do not belong to the pedagogical world. Also, each concept which is introduced in this chapter is immediately explained briefly, and in some cases with examples, in order to continue with the purpose of each paragraph. I strongly suggest this chapter for parents who want their children to be proficient in a L2 because this chapter mentions how things like age, affection and motivation take part in their learning process. So, this chapter will work as an initiation for future fostering.

Reference Yule, G. (1996). The study of language (2nd Ed. rev.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.




“Reaction Paper”

Subject: Teacher: Student:

English Methodology 2 Claudio Díaz Andrés Hunter

Concepción, August 25th of 2009