The Challenges Of Second Language Learners

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Some of the challenges that many second language learners have to face with have to do with aspects of the form-to-function and function-to-form mapping, or the concept-oriented approach. Kathleen Bardovi-Harlig describes the main point of it that “adult learners of second languages have access to the full range of semantic concepts from their previous linguistic and cognitive experience.” However, Von Stutterheim and Klein argue that “a second language learner- in contrast to a child learning his first language- does not have to acquire the underlying concepts. What he has to acquire is a specific way and a specific means of expressing them” (VanPatten and Williams, 2015). The form-to-function analysis states that forms (particular lexical items/units) will develop, or be used by learners, before they actually know how to use them in any way resembling native speaker patterns of usage. There are arguments about the directionality of the system. In other words, learners will most likely map in both directions at different times depending on their learning situation as well as their background knowledge, including knowledge of their L1. Therefore, somebody learning a language very similar to their first language will probably be able to use the forms of their first language to help decide what some of the functions are and vice versa. For someone trying to learn a new language which is quite different from their native language they might actually need to rely on functions
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