Many popular theories of second language acquisition have been analyzed throughout history. The socialization of L2 learners, their present emotional state that is present at time of acquisition, as well as the comprehensible input and output with the use of scaffolding play a major role in second language acquisition. Let us also not forget the importance of written expression as well as reading comprehension with these L2 learners. Each play a role in language development. However, I believe that in acquiring a language, one must use a variety of techniques that work together to create a balance within the learning environment. Furthermore, all L2 learners learn differently and so a variety of resources will need to be used based on the ability of each student. There are many theories that have been developed by highly qualified experts in the field on linguistics. However, I will address those areas that I agree with as I present my personal theories on second language acquisition.
Language carries the beauty and persona of our thought process and the study of Linguistics helps us develop insights, appreciate and analyze many aspects of this powerful medium of expression. My fascination with Second Language Acquisition (SLA) began with the course ‘Language Acquisition and Learning’ that I took while I was in the 4th year of my undergraduate program at the University of Dhaka. In that course, for the first time, I was introduced to various theories and hypotheses about how people acquire a second language, such as Stephen Krashen’s five main hypotheses on language acquisition (the acquisition-learning hypothesis, the monitor hypothesis, the natural order hypothesis, the input hypothesis, and the affective filter hypothesis), Larry Selinker’s Interlanguage theory, John Schumann’s Acculturation model, and Howard Giles’s Accommodation theory. These theories helped me realize the robustness and richness of SLA research and made a permanent impression on my mind about this field. Besides SLA, I was also acquainted with Psycholinguistics through this course. I have learned about several theories of first language acquisition, e.g. the Behaviorist theory, the Innatist theory, the Cognitive theory, and the Maturational theory. It is worth mentioning here that this course really helped me set my dream to become an academic as well as a researcher in the field of language acquisition and learning.
Judie Haynes’ article, “Stages of Second Language Acquisition”, clearly states five stages that a new learner of English may go through. In Haynes’ theory, there are five stages in total, and they are pre-production, early production, speech emergence, intermediate fluency, and advanced fluency. According to Haynes, new learners of English acquire language by going through the same stages. However, how much time each student spends at a particular stage may be different. Despite the different time length, the stages of people acquiring new language are worth discussing.
Children acquire language since they were born. They communicate with their parents. Furthermore, children and parents interact with each other using a language that we often call the first language or mother tongue. At an early age, children are only learning one language that is the mother tongue. By age and speech development, children improve to acquire a second language from the school or the environment around them. In terms of speed of langgauge acquisition, children are factorized by both the child and the child’s learning environment. Therefore, it is important to understand how children acquire second language. This paper is provided
Many popular theories of second language acquisition have been analyzed throughout history. The socialization of L2 learners, their present emotional state that is present at the time of acquisition, as well as the comprehensible input and output with the use of scaffolding play a major role in second language acquisition. Kirsten Hummel states, “The one most effective way to increase L2 competence was by exposure to ‘comprehensible input’.” (Hummel, 2014, p. 73) Let us also not forget the importance of written expression as well as reading comprehension with these L2 learners. Each plays a role in language development. However, I believe that to acquire language one must use a variety of techniques that work together to create a balance within the learning environment. Furthermore, all L2 learners acquire language differently and so using a variety of resources that are based on the ability of each student is neccesary. There are many theories that have been developed by highly qualified experts in the field of linguistics. However, I will address those areas that I agree with as I present my personal theories on second language acquisition.
The sociocultural theory of second language acquisition has provided me with the strongest reasons for reconsidering my previous views on second language learning. Vygotsky proposed a sociocultural theory that is very influential within the field of second language learning. The focus was on the idea that all learning is primarily social. The connections between people and the sociocultural context in which they interact with one another are crucial. Through interaction in shared experiences new knowledge is obtained. This perspective emphasizes the social nature of learning and examines the complex and dynamic social interaction involved in the process of learning a second language. According to Vygotsky the cognitive and social processes in acquiring a second language are inseparable. Social interaction has a vital role in the process of cognitive development.
Learning a new language has many benefits; career advancement, bridging communication gaps, and strengthening life skills. “What theory implies, quite simply, is that language acquisition, first or second, occurs when comprehension of real messages occurs, and when the acquire is not ‘on the defensive’” wrote Steven D. Krashner (1981)
A behaviorist view treats language learning as environmentally determined, controlled from outside by what learners are exposed to and the reinforcement they receive. In contrast, mentalist theories emphasize the importance of the learner’s ‘black box’ in their memory. They maintain that learners’ brains are especially equipped to learn language and all that is needed is minimal exposure to input in order to trigger acquisition (Ellis, 1997). On the whole, input is absolutely necessary and there is no theory or approach to SLA that does not recognize the importance of input and making sure that it is comprehensible. In Schwartz’s view (1993), the input feeds or nurtures an innate system to aid its growth. But input alone cannot facilitate second language learning. It will not function to the full in SLA until it gets involved in interaction. Input processing is just as important because it aims to offer an explanation as to how L2 learners process input, how they make form-meaning connections and how they map syntactic structures onto the utterance.
Nativist McLaughlin (1984) claims that children whose ages are from two to six, can develop their language competences naturally, so at the time they start their formal education process, they have already mastered them. The author states that during these ages, children are so curious that they start creating and experimenting with language. She also affirms that second language acquisition takes place when children's listening and speaking skills have been well established in their mother tongue before being exposed to a second one.
Numerous theories try to explain the process of language acquisition. These theories fall into one of two camps. The environmentalist (or connectionist) theory of language acquisition asserts that language is acquired through environmental factors (Halvaei et al. 811). Theorists in this camp believe that a child learns language by gaining information from the outside world and then forming associations between words and objects. The nativist (or rationalist) approach, on the other hand, asserts that it is innate factors that determine language acquisition. Noam Chomsky, often described as “the father of modern linguistics”, falls into this camp as he believes that speech is the result of hidden rules of language that are hidden somewhere in the brain (Rahmani and Abdolmanafi 2111). Steven Pinker, a colleague of Chomsky, is a renowned psychologist, cognitive scientist and linguist who discusses his own theories on language acquisition in his book Words and Rules.
To elaborate on this hypothesis, Brown (2000) argues that …the CAH claims that the principal barrier to second language acquisition is that the interference of the first language system with the second language system, and that a scientific, structural analysis of the two languages in question would yield a taxonomy of linguistic contrast between them which in turn would enable the linguist to predict the difficulties a learner
Two theories of primary language acquisition emerged from 1950s psychological research: B.F. Skinner’s behaviorist theory and Noam Chomsky’s biological theory of language development. Primary language acquisition addresses specifically the way in which an infant’s native language is beginning to form, starting at birth. Primary language acquisition continues to develop throughout the rest of childhood within the critical period.
In our everyday lives, the origin of our ability to communicate is usually not often taken into consideration. One doesn't think about how every person has, or rather had at one time, an innate ability to learn a language to total fluency without a conscious effort – a feat that is seen by the scientific community "as one of the many utterly unexplainable mysteries that beset us in our daily lives" (3).. Other such mysteries include our body's ability to pump blood and take in oxygen constantly seemingly without thought, and a new mother's ability to unconsciously raise her body temperature when her infant is placed on her chest. But a child's first language acquisition is different from these
Behaviourism, one of the earliest scientific explanations of language acquisition was greatly influenced by theorist B.F Skinner (1957). The techniques of this learning theory have long been absorbed in the education setting to promote behaviours that are desirable and to dishearten those who are not (Stanbridge, 2014). As one of the developers of behaviorism B.F. Skinner (1957) accounted for language development by means of environmental influence, particularly a child’s reaction to reward and punishment. Skinner justified that behaviours that are rewarded, would be repeated, but behaviours that are disciplined or ignored will lessen.
There are three major theories of first language acquisition, which are nativist approach, behavior approach, and functional approach. There are still some scholars who challenge these theories. As to nativism, Chomsky (1965) held the view that we are born with a genetic capacity to perceive and acquire the language, and that the capacity is contained in the language acquisition device. He proposes that the language organ helps children acquire languages. In another word, the theory proposes that children are born with the knowledge of natural languages. In this theory, this language development is part of children’s maturation or growth, and this process is based on suitable speech input. Also, nativism believes that children can create language randomly, and the non-standard language proves that children have a set of grammar rules that applied serially in the brain. However, some scholars use the parallel distributed processing model (PDP) to challenge nativism and argue that our brain processes information simultaneously at many levels, so the rules of language are not applied serially in our brain (Brown, 2014). They say that PDP can better explain the neural connections happened in our brain when we perceives or use languages.