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Second language

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search A second language or L2 is any language learned after the first language or mother tongue. Some languages, often called auxiliary languages, are used primarily as second languages or lingua francas (such as Esperanto). A person's first language may not be their dominant language, the one they use most or are most comfortable with. For example, the Canadian census defines first language for its purposes as "the first language learned in childhood and still spoken", recognizing that for some, the earliest language may be lost, a process known as language attrition. This can happen when young children move, with or without their family (because of immigration or international adoption), to a new language environment.

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1 Age 2 Similarities and differences between L2 and L1 o 2.1 Speed o 2.2 Correction o 2.3 Depth of knowledge o 2.4 Success 3 Theories of second language acquisition (SLA) 4 Foreign language 5 References 6 Further reading

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According to some researchers, the defining difference between a first language (L1) and a second language (L2) is the age the person learned the language. For example, linguist Eric Lenneberg used second language to mean a language consciously acquired or used by its speaker after puberty. In most cases, people never achieve the same level of fluency and comprehension in their second languages as in their first language. These views are closely associated with the Critical Period Hypothesis. In acquiring an L2, Hyltenstam (1992) found that around the age of six or seven seemed to be a cut-off point for bilinguals to achieve native-like proficiency. After that age, L2 learners could get near-native-like-ness but their language would, while consisting of few actual errors, have

Maddens and Beerten 241). Also. As we are learning more and more about the brain. the chemical processes in the brain are more geared towards language and social communication. As far as the relationship between age and eventual attainment in SLA is concerned. However. ―The age of 6 or 8 does seem to be an important period in distinguishing between near-native and native-like ultimate attainment. when it comes to the relationship between age and rate SLA. p. begin natural exposure to second languages and obtain better proficiency than those who learn the second language as an adult. Before a child goes through puberty. Whereas after puberty. Later. 364). Such issue leads to a ―double sense of national belonging. and gets absorbed into the foreign culture that they ―undertake to describe themselves in ways that engage with representations other have made‖ (Pratt 35). attitudes. In other words. The inability of some subjects to achieve native-like proficiency must be seen in relation to the age of onset (AO). Due to such factors. Long. 1992. that is the time that accents start. they discuss a number of cases where a native-like L2 was acquired during adulthood. children start to adapt. and Scarcella. say that people who encounter foreign language in early age. although . [edit] Similarities and differences between L2 and L1 [edit] Speed Acquiring a second language can be a lifelong learning process for many. but being exposed to foreign language since early age causes one a ―weak identification‖ (Billiet. multicultural education impacts on student’s ―relations.. More specifically. As for the fluency.. And as children learn more and more foreign language. in general.‖ that makes one not sure of where he or she belongs to because according to Brian A. most learners of a second language will never become fully native-like in it. ―older children acquire faster than younger children do (again.enough errors to set them apart from the L1 group. ―Adults proceed through early stages of syntactic and morphological development faster than children (where time and exposure are held constant) ‖ ( Krashen. adults and older children are fast learners when it comes to the initial stage of foreign language education. Scarcella 573). learning foreign language in early age may incur one’s perspective of his or her native country. but that there is no cut-off point in particular. Hyltenstam & Abrahamsson (2003) modified their age cut-offs to argue that after childhood. in early stages of morphological and syntactic development where time and exposure are held constant) ‖ (573). it is better to do foreign language education in early age. Furthermore. there is a hypothesis that when a child is going through puberty. it becomes more and more difficult to acquire native-like-ness. it may be suggested that AO interacts with frequency and intensity of language use‖ (Hyltenstam. Jacob. or in the neural system of hormone allocated for reproduction and sexual organ growth. Despite persistent efforts. the ability for learning a language without an accent has been rerouted to function in another area of the brain—most likely in the frontal lobe area promoting cognitive functions. Long. Krashen. and behaviors‖ (Jacob 364).

In the first language. [edit] Correction Error correction does not seem to have a direct influence on learning a second language. In this same decade Terrell (1977) did studies that showed that there were more factors to be considered in the classroom than the cognitive processing of the students (Russell. At this time. 2009). However. In 1998. He contested that the affective side of students and their self-esteem were equally important to the teaching process (Russell. The main concern at this time was relieving student stress and creating a warm environment for them. 2009). In the 1950s and 60s the viewpoint of the day was that all errors must be corrected at all costs. 2009). A few years later in the 1980s. more research started to be undertaken to determine exactly which kinds of corrections are the most useful for students. 2009). children who have limited input still acquire the first language. and that teaching or correcting styles would not change this (Russell. 2009). Mackey. Lyster concluded that ―recasts‖ (when the teacher repeats a student’s incorrect utterance with the correct version) are not always the most useful because students do not notice the correction (Russell. His studies in 2002 showed that students learn better when teachers help the student recognize and correct his own error (Russell. 2009). In the learning of a second language the correction of errors remains a controversial topic with many differing schools of thought. the strict grammar and corrective approach of the 1950s became obsolete. Furthermore. Throughout the last century much advancement has been made in research on the correction of students’ errors. with the exception of vocabulary and a few grammatical structures. children by around the age of 5 have more or less mastered their first language. Instruction may affect the rate of learning. Little thought went to students’ feelings or self-esteem in regards to this constant correction (Russell. children do not respond to systematic correction. 2009). Researchers asserted that correction was often unnecessary and that instead of furthering students’ learning it was hindering them (Russell. In the 1970s Dulay and Burt’s studies showed that learners acquire grammar forms and structures in a pre-determined. Stephen Krashen was a big proponent in this hands-off approach to error correction (Russell. [edit] Depth of knowledge . The 1990s brought back the familiar idea that explicit grammar instruction and error correction was indeed useful for the SLA process. 2009). but the stages remain the same. inalterable order. Gas and McDonough had similar findings in 2000 and attributed the success of this method to the student’s active participation in the corrective process (Russell. 2009).with practice considerable fluency can be achieved. Adolescents and adults who know the rule are faster than those who do not.

1997). phrases. Neussel. L2 learners rarely achieve complete native-like control of the second language. Similarities and differences between L2 and L1 L2 L1 NA acquisition is rapid speed systematic stages of development systematic stages of development stages not involved error correction not directly influential beyond the level of input depth of knowledge beyond the level of input not inevitable (possible fossilization*) inevitable success (1) rarely fully successful successful success (2) Being successful in learning a second can seem like a daunting task. Also good language learner demonstrates a willingness to practice and use the language in real communication. (Fossilization occurs when language errors become a permanent feature. 1997). they will be fully successful. For second language learners. First language learners will be successful in both measurements.g. and questions) that they have never seen or heard before. success is not guaranteed. Research has been done to look into why some students are more successful than others. is an active learner who is constantly searching for meaning. learners may become fossilized or stuck as it were with ungrammatical items. Johnson (1992). the whole is greater than the parts. Stern (1975). has a strong drive to communicate. He also monitors himself and his learning. It is inevitable that all first language learners will learn a first language and with few exceptions. Finally. [edit] Success Success in language learning can be measured in two ways: likelihood and quality. They have worked to determine what qualities make a ―good language learner‖ (Mollica. and has a good ear and good listening skills (Mollica. sentences. Neussel. For one. in other words. Selinker (1972). [edit] Theories of second language acquisition (SLA) . See Canale & Swain (1980). and Selinker and Lamendella (1978)). The difference between learners may be significant. Rubin (1975) and Reiss (1985) are just a few of the researchers who have dedicated time to this subject. Learners of a language are able to construct correct utterances (e. as noted elsewhere. Some of their common findings are that a good language learner uses positive learning strategies.Learners in the first or second language have knowledge that goes beyond the input they received.

Main article: Second language acquisition The distinction between acquiring and learning was made by Stephen Krashen (1982) as part of his Monitor Theory. 115). on the other hand. responsible for much of human learning. In the latter. however. the student needs to partake in natural communicative situations. 1st language acquisition studies. error correction is present. dynamic system) (Mitchell. [and] a knowledge of second language acquisition may help educational policy makers set more realistic goals for programmes for both foreign language courses and the learning of the majority language by minority language children and adults (Spada & Lightbown. process language. the study of how a second language is learned/acquired is referred to as Second Language Acquisition or SLA. Many psychological theories. error analysis. the acquisition of a language is a natural process. p. stages and order of acquisition. Myles. verbal behaviour (the view that constructed linguistic stimuli can create a desired speech response). Other dominant theories and points of research include 2nd language acquisition studies (which examine if L1 findings can be transferred to L2 learning). According to Krashen. hypothesize that cognitive mechanisms. .Blackboard used in class at Harvard shows students' efforts at placing the ü and acute accent diacritic used in Spanish orthography. Not all educators in second language agree to this distinction. contrastive analysis (approach where languages were examined in terms of differences and similarities) and inter-language (which describes L2 learners’ language as a rule-governed. 2004).. One of the dominant linguistic theories hypothesizes that a device or module of sorts in the brain contains innate knowledge. structuralism (approach that looks at how the basic units of language relate to each other according to their common characteristics). whereas learning a language is a conscious one. morpheme studies. Research in SLA focuses on the developing knowledge and use of a language by children and adults who already know at least one other language. behaviourism. as is the study of grammatical rules isolated from natural language. SLA has been influenced by both linguistic and psychological theories. In the former..

the latter being learned for use in an area where that language is not generally spoken. 1994). The same can be said for French in the Arab Maghreb Union.These theories have all had an impact on second language teaching and pedagogy. many of which stem directly from a particular theory. the Silent Way. but will use a mix in their teaching. There are many different methods of second language teaching. In the post-Soviet states states such as Uzbekistan. the Scandinavian countries and the Netherlands can be considered a second language for many of its speakers. although—like for English in the Scandinavian countries and the Netherlands—French is not an official language in any of these Arabic-speaking countries. the Audio-Lingual Method (clearly influenced by audio-lingual research and the behaviourist approach). Arguably. media. and common script. [edit] Foreign language A German student learning French In pedagogy and sociolinguistics. French would be considered a foreign language in Romania. Some of these approaches are more popular than others. Russian can be considered a second language. English would be considered a foreign language due to the lack of a number of characteristics. because they learn it young. Suggestopedia. and use it regularly. and there are large Russophone communities there. such as historical links. opportunities for use. a distinction is often made between 'second language' and foreign language. This is despite Romanian and French being Romance languages (unlike Chinese and English. government and business. however. Community Language Learning. and the Communicative Approach (highly influenced by Krashen’s theories) (Doggett. In China (with the exception perhaps of Hong Kong). the Total Physical Response Method. except for Libya. This provides a more balanced approach to teaching and helps students of a variety of learning styles succeed. Most language teachers do not use one singular style. the Direct Method. indeed in southern Asia it is the official language of the courts. speak it fluently. similar vocabulary. English in countries such as India. Pakistan. which come from two different language families). and are viewed to be more effective. Bangladesh. Common methods are the Grammar-Translation Method. This is also despite Romania and Moldova being the . Lebanon and Moldova as well. Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan.

910. "Arts of the Contact Zone". ^ Scarcella. Language Weltalmanach 1986 Ethnologue. 4. 4 103: 339–376. American Journal of Education.only two countries in the world where Romanian is an official language at the federal level. Robin. Mary (1991). Profession: 33–40. Russian 125 million 110 million 4. German 9 million 28 million 9. Spanish 20 million 60 million 8. French is an administrative language and—like Romania—Lebanon has historical ties to France and is a Francophonie member state. TESOL Quarterly 13 (4): 573–582. George H. the data for English as L2 has not been yet reported by Ethnologue. Rate and Eventual Attainment in Second Language Acquisition". and both Romanian-speaking countries' membership in the Francophonie. Billiet. "National Identity and Attitude Toward Foreigners in a Multinational State: A Replication". ^ Pratt. These numbers should be compared with those referred to by Ethnologue. Portuguese 28 million 15 million 5. a Swiss businessman and independent scholar. Stephen D. Jaak. 2 Web site. Krashen. Arabic 21 million 246 million 6. J. ^ The World's Most Widely Spoken Languages (reference for entire table) 6. French would be considered a foreign language. International Society of Political Psychology. 3. English 150 million N/A 3. made a report in December 1997 about the number of secondary speakers of the world's leading languages. French 190 million 50 million 2. "Age. Long (Dec 1979). Bart Maddens (2003). ^ Jacob. 5. ^ The World's 10 most influential Languages (reference for entire table) 1. Roeland. Romania's historical links to France. 1995). Michael A. p.[5][6] Weber used the Fischer Weltalmanach of 1986 as his only source[7]] for the L2-speakers data. "Defining Culture in a Multicultural Environment: An Ethnography of Heritage High School". Full article [edit] Further reading . 2. in preparing the data in the next table. Mandarin 20 million 178 million 7. ^ Beerten. [number of secondary speakers] is based on a table given in the Fischer Weltalamanach [sic] 1986. Brian (Aug. Weber. Japanese 8 million 1 million [edit] References 1. an authoritative site in the linguistics field. For Lebanon. however. even though most of its universities operate in either that language or English. founder of the Andaman Association and creator of the encyclopedic andaman.. ^ Fig 6.