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A smaller social distance is likely to encourage learners to acquire the second language, as their investment in the learning process is greater.

Multiple Perspectives on the Self in SLA, Book by Sarah Mercer (Paperback) |

Conversely, a greater social distance discourages attempts to acquire the target language. However, negative views not only come from the learner, but the community of the target language might feel greater social distance to the learner, limiting the learner's ability to learn the language. Gender, as a social factor, also influences SLA.

Females have been found to have higher motivation and more positive attitudes than males for second-language acquisition. However, females are also more likely to present higher levels of anxiety, which may inhibit their ability to efficiently learn a new language. There have been several models developed to explain social effects on language acquisition. Schumann's Acculturation Model proposes that learners' rate of development and ultimate level of language achievement is a function of the "social distance" and the "psychological distance" between learners and the second-language community.

In Schumann's model the social factors are most important, but the degree to which learners are comfortable with learning the second language also plays a role. Gardner's model focuses on the emotional aspects of SLA, arguing that positive motivation contributes to an individuals willingness to learn L2; furthermore, the goal of an individual to learn a L2 is based on the idea that the individual has a desire to be part of a culture, in other words, part of a the targeted language mono-linguistic community.

Factors, such as integrativeness and attitudes towards the learning situation drive motivation. The outcome of positive motivation is not only linguistic, but non-linguistic, such that the learner has met the desired goal. Although there are many critics of Gardner's model, nonetheless many of these critics have been influenced by the merits that his model holds.

A unique approach to SLA is Sociocultural theory. It was originally developed by Lev Vygotsky and his followers. The ZPD notion states that social interaction with more advanced target language users allows one to learn language at a higher level than if they were to learn language independently. According to Ellis, "It is important to recognize Linguistic approaches to explaining second-language acquisition spring from the wider study of linguistics. They differ from cognitive approaches and sociocultural approaches in that they consider language knowledge to be unique and distinct from any other type of knowledge.

Typological universals are principles that hold for all the world's languages. They are found empirically, by surveying different languages and deducing which aspects of them could be universal; these aspects are then checked against other languages to verify the findings. The interlanguages of second-language learners have been shown to obey typological universals, and some researchers have suggested that typological universals may constrain interlanguage development. The theory of universal grammar was proposed by Noam Chomsky in the s, and has enjoyed considerable popularity in the field of linguistics.

It focuses on describing the linguistic competence of an individual. He believed that children not only acquire language by learning descriptive rules of grammar; he claimed that children creatively play and form words as they learn language, creating meaning of these words, as opposed to the mechanism of memorizing language.

Universal grammar theory can account for some of the observations of SLA research. For example, L2-users often display knowledge about their L2 that they have not been exposed to. This unsourced knowledge suggests the existence of a universal grammar. There is considerable variation in the rate at which people learn second languages, and in the language level that they ultimately reach. Some learners learn quickly and reach a near-native level of competence, but others learn slowly and get stuck at relatively early stages of acquisition, despite living in the country where the language is spoken for several years.

The reason for this disparity was first addressed with the study of language learning aptitude in the s, and later with the good language learner studies in the s.

More recently research has focused on a number of different factors that affect individuals' language learning, in particular strategy use, social and societal influences, personality, motivation, and anxiety. The relationship between age and the ability to learn languages has also been a subject of long-standing debate. The issue of age was first addressed with the critical period hypothesis. However, the exact age marking the end of the critical period is debated, and ranges from age 6 to 13, with many arguing that it is around the onset of puberty.

However, in general, adolescent and adult learners of a second-language rarely achieve the native-like fluency that children who acquire both languages from birth display, despite often progressing faster in the initial stages. This has led to speculation that age is indirectly related to other, more central factors that affect language learning. Children who acquire two languages from birth are called simultaneous bilinguals. In these cases, both languages are spoken to the children by their parents or caregivers and they grow up knowing the two languages.

These children generally reach linguistic milestones at the same time as their monolingual peers. People often assume that a sequential bilingual's first language is their most proficient language, but this is not always the case. Over time and experience, a child's second language may become his or her strongest.

Proficiency for both simultaneous and sequential bilinguals is dependent upon the child's opportunities to engage in meaningful conversations in a variety of contexts. Often simultaneous bilinguals are more proficient in their languages than sequential bilinguals. One argument for this is that simultaneous bilinguals develop more distinct representations of their languages, especially with regards to phonological and semantic levels of processing.

Learning a language earlier in life would help develop these distinct representations of language, as the learner's first language would be less established. Conversely, learning a language later in life would lead to more similar semantic representations. Although child learners more often acquire native-like proficiency, older child and adult learners often progress faster in the initial stages of learning. Once surpassed, older learners often display clear language deficiencies compared to child learners. This has been attributed to having a solid grasp on the first language or mother tongue they were first immersed into.

Having this cognitive ability already developed can aid the process of learning a second language since there is a better understanding of how language works. The exact language deficiencies that occur past a certain age are not unanimously agreed upon. Some believe that only pronunciation is affected, while others believe other abilities are affected as well. However, some differences that are generally agreed upon include older learners having a noticeable accent, a smaller vocabulary, and making several linguistic errors. One explanation for this difference in proficiency between older learners and younger learners involves Universal Grammar.

Universal Grammar is a debated theory that suggests that people have innate knowledge of universal linguistic principles that is present from birth. The rules and principles that guide the use of the learners' native language plays a role in the way the second language is developed. Some nonbiological explanations for second-language acquisition age differences include variations in social and psychological factors, such as motivation; the learner's linguistic environment; and the level of exposure.

Even with less advantageous nonbiological influences, many young children attain a greater level of proficiency in their second language than older learners with more advantageous nonbiological influences. Considerable attention has been paid to the strategies learners use to learn a second language. Strategies have been found to be of critical importance, so much so that strategic competence has been suggested as a major component of communicative competence.

Learning strategies are techniques used to improve learning, such as mnemonics or using a dictionary. Communicative strategies are strategies a learner uses to convey meaning even when he or she doesn't have access to the correct form, such as using pro-forms like thing , or using non-verbal means such as gestures. If learning strategies and communicative strategies are used properly language acquisition is successful.

Some points to keep in mind while learning an additional language are: providing information that is of interest to the student, offering opportunities for the student to share their knowledge and teaching appropriate techniques for the uses of the learning resources available. Another strategy may include intentional ways to acquire or improve their second language skills.

The learner's attitude to the learning process has also been identified as being critically important to second-language acquisition. Anxiety in language-learning situations has been almost unanimously shown to be detrimental to successful learning. Anxiety interferes with the mental processing of language because the demands of anxiety-related thoughts create competition for mental resources.

This results in less available storage and energy for tasks required for language processing. Further, the apprehension created as a result of anxiety inhibits the learner's ability to retrieve and produce the correct information. A related factor, personality, has also received attention. There has been discussion about the effects of extravert and introvert personalities. Extraverted qualities may help learners seek out opportunities and people to assist with L2 learning, whereas introverts may find it more difficult to seek out such opportunities for interaction.

Further, while extraversion might be beneficial through its encouragement of learning autonomously, it may also present challenges as learners may find reflective and time-management skills to be difficult. Other personality factors, such as conscientiousness , agreeableness , and openness influence self-regulation, which helps L2 learners engage, process meaning, and adapt their thoughts, feelings, and actions to benefit the acquisition process.

Both genetics and the learner's environment impact the personality of the learner, either facilitating or hindering an individual's ability to learn. Social attitudes such as gender roles and community views toward language learning have also proven critical. Language learning can be severely hampered by cultural attitudes, with a frequently cited example being the difficulty of Navajo children in learning English [ citation needed ]. Also, the motivation of the individual learner is of vital importance to the success of language learning.

Motivation is influenced by goal salience , valence , and self-efficacy. However, motivation is dynamic and, as a L2 learner's fluency develops, their extrinsic motivation may evolve to become more intrinsic. Further, a supportive learning environment facilitates motivation through the increase in self-confidence and autonomy.

Attrition is the loss of proficiency in a language caused by a lack of exposure to or use of a language. One way it does this is by using L1 as a tool to navigate the periods of change associated with acquisition and attrition. A learner's L2 is not suddenly lost with disuse, but its communicative functions are slowly replaced by those of the L1. Similar to second-language acquisition, second-language attrition occurs in stages. However, according to the regression hypothesis, the stages of attrition occur in reverse order of acquisition. With acquisition, receptive skills develop first, and then productive skills, and with attrition, productive skills are lost first, and then receptive skills.

Age, proficiency level, and social factors play a role in the way attrition occurs. However, if a child has established a high level of proficiency, it may take them several years to lose the language. Proficiency level seems to play the largest role in the extent of attrition.


For very proficient individuals, there is a period of time where very little, if any, attrition is observed. For some, residual learning might even occur, which is the apparent improvement within the L2. A cognitive psychological explanation for this suggests that a higher level of proficiency involves the use of schemas , or mental representations for linguistic structures. Schemas involve deeper mental processes for mental retrieval that are resistant to attrition.

As a result, information that is tied to this system is less likely to experience less extreme attrition than information that is not.

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In particular, motivation and attitude influence the process. Higher levels of motivation, and a positive attitude toward the language and the corresponding community may lessen attrition. This is likely due to the higher level of competence achieved in L2 when the learner is motivated and has a positive attitude. While considerable SLA research has been devoted to language learning in a natural setting, there have also been efforts made to investigate second-language acquisition in the classroom.

This kind of research has a significant overlap with language education , and it is mainly concerned with the effect that instruction has on the learner. It also explores what teachers do, the classroom context, the dynamics of classroom communication. It is both qualitative and quantitative research.

The research has been wide-ranging. There have been attempts made to systematically measure the effectiveness of language teaching practices for every level of language, from phonetics to pragmatics, and for almost every current teaching methodology. This research has indicated that many traditional language-teaching techniques are extremely inefficient.

Rather, to become proficient in the second language, the learner must be given opportunities to use it for communicative purposes. Another area of research has been on the effects of corrective feedback in assisting learners. This has been shown to vary depending on the technique used to make the correction, and the overall focus of the classroom, whether on formal accuracy or on communication of meaningful content. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article is about natural acquisition of a second language.

For classroom learning, see Language education.

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Outline History Index. Grammatical theories. Main article: Interlanguage. Main article: Order of acquisition. Main article: Language transfer. Main article: Individual variation in second-language acquisition. Main article: Second-language attrition. Main article: Second-language acquisition classroom research. Linguistics portal Languages portal. Main article: Outline of second-language acquisition. 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.

This strict separation of learning and acquisition is widely regarded as an oversimplification by researchers today, but his hypotheses were very influential and the name has stuck. See Krashen for a review of these studies. Sharwood Smith and Kellerman preferred the term crosslinguistic influence to language transfer. They argued that cross-linguistic influence was neutral regarding different theories of language acquisition, whereas language transfer was not. Archived from the original on 22 November Retrieved 3 May October Wired : Cognitive Science.

Archived from the original on 28 March Archived PDF from the original on Retrieved Archived from the original on 11 June Retrieved 10 June Natural Order Hypothesis 2 :Interlanguage". Quentin, a course run from to Archived from the original on Theory and Practice in Language Studies. How Languages are Learned. Oxford University Press. Lexical Processing and Second Language Acquisition. New York, NY: Routledge.

Additional language acquisition: An update for paediatricians". Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health. Journal of Early Childhood Literacy. Adult Education Quarterly. Allwright, Dick; Hanks, Judith Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan. Anderson, J. American Journal of Psychology. Ashcraft, M.

Journal of Experimental Psychology: General. Bailey, N. Language Learning. Bates, E. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. Brown, Roger A First Language. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Canale, M. Applied Linguistics. Chang, Charles B. Journal of Phonetics. Cook, Vivian Second Language Learning and Language Teaching. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge. DeKeyser, Robert In Doughty, Catherine; Williams, Jessica eds. New York: Cambridge University Press. Doughty, Catherine; Williams, Jessica, eds. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Dulay, H. Dulay, Heidi; Burt, Marina In Richards, Jack ed. Error Analysis. New York: Longman. In Dulay, Heidi; Burt, Marina eds. Elley, W. Ellis, N. Ellis, Rod The Study of Second Language Acquisition. Oxford Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press. Second Language Acquisition. Oxford Introductions to Language Study. Studies in Second Language Acquisition.

Ellis, Rod; Barkhuizen, Patrick Analysing Learner Language. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Erton, I. Hacettepe University Journal of Education. Flege, James Emil Gass, S. In Altarriba, J. An Introduction to Bilingualism: Principles and Processes. Gass, Susan; Selinker, Larry Retrieved — via Google Books.

Hansen, Lynne Second Language Attrition in Japanese Contexts. Harley, B. Haynes, Judie Kohnert, K. Krashen, Stephen Krashen, Stephen a. New York: Pergamon Press. Krashen, Stephen b. Studia Linguistica. Principles and Practice in Second Language Acquisition.

Pergamon Press. In Ellis, Nick ed. Implicit and Explicit Learning of Languages. London: Academic Press. The Power of Reading, Second Edition. Littleton: Libraries Unlimited. Lenneberg, Eric Biological Foundations of Language. New York: Wiley. Lightbown, Patsy In Harley, Birgit ed. The Development of Second Language Proficiency. MacWhinney et al. These findings also relate to Connectionism. Connectionism attempts to model the cognitive language processing of the human brain, using computer architectures that make associations between elements of language, based on frequency of co-occurrence in the language input.

From this input, learners extract the rules of the language through cognitive processes common to other areas of cognitive skill acquisition. Since connectionism denies both innate rules and the existence of any innate language-learning module, L2 input is of greater importance than it is in processing models based on innate approaches, since, in connectionism, input is the source of both the units and the rules of language.

Attention is another characteristic that some believe to have a role in determining the success or failure of language processing. Richard Schmidt states that although explicit metalinguistic knowledge of a language is not always essential for acquisition, the learner must be aware of L2 input in order to gain from it. This noticing of the gap allows the learner's internal language processing to restructure the learner's internal representation of the rules of the L2 in order to bring the learner's production closer to the target.

In this respect, Schmidt's understanding is consistent with the ongoing process of rule formation found in emergentism and connectionism. Some theorists and researchers have contributed to the cognitive approach to second-language acquisition by increasing understanding of the ways L2 learners restructure their interlanguage knowledge systems to be in greater conformity to L2 structures. Processability theory states that learners restructure their L2 knowledge systems in an order of which they are capable at their stage of development.

They do so by a series of stages, consistent across learners. Clahsen proposed that certain processing principles determine this order of restructuring. Thinkers have produced several theories concerning how learners use their internal L2 knowledge structures to comprehend L2 input and produce L2 output. One idea is that learners acquire proficiency in an L2 in the same way that people acquire other complex cognitive skills. Automaticity is the performance of a skill without conscious control. It results from the gradated process of proceduralization. In the field of cognitive psychology, Anderson expounds a model of skill acquisition, according to which persons use procedures to apply their declarative knowledge about a subject in order to solve problems.

Performance speed and accuracy improve as the learner implements these production rules. DeKeyser tested the application of this model to L2 language automaticity. Michael T.

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This model is consistent with a distinction made in general cognitive science between the storage and retrieval of facts, on the one hand, and understanding of how to carry out operations, on the other. It states that declarative knowledge consists of arbitrary linguistic information, such as irregular verb forms, that are stored in the brain's declarative memory. In contrast, knowledge about the rules of a language, such as grammatical word order is procedural knowledge and is stored in procedural memory.

Perhaps certain psychological characteristics constrain language processing. One area of research is the role of memory. Williams conducted a study in which he found some positive correlation between verbatim memory functioning and grammar learning success for his subjects. For the second-language learner, the acquisition of meaning is arguably the most important task. Meaning it is the heart of a language, not the exotic sounds or elegant sentence structure. There are several types of meanings: lexical, grammatical, semantic, and pragmatic. All the different meanings contribute to the acquisition of meaning resulting in the integrated second language possession.

Grammatical meaning — comes into consideration when calculating the meaning of a sentence; usually encoded in inflectional morphology ex. Sociocultural theory was originally coined by Wertsch in and derived from the work of Lev Vygotsky and the Vygotsky Circle in Moscow from the s onwards. Sociocultural theory is the notion that human mental function is from participating cultural mediation integrated into social activities. Second language acquisition has been usually investigated by applying traditional cross-sectional studies. In these designs usually a pre-test post-test method is used.

However, in the s a novel angle emerged in the field of second language research. These studies mainly adopt Dynamic systems theory perspective to analyse longitudinal time-series data. Scientists such as Larsen-Freeman , Verspoor , de Bot , Lowie , van Geert claim that second language acquisition can be best capture by applying longitudinal case study research design rather than cross-sectional designs. In these studies variability is seen a key indicator of development, self-organization from a Dynamic systems parlance.

The interconnectedness of the systems is usually analysed by moving correlations. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Main article: Universal grammar. Main article: Comprehensible input. Main article: Monitor hypothesis. Main article: Interaction hypothesis. Main article: Comprehensible output. Main article: Competition model. See also: Connectionism. Main article: Noticing hypothesis. Main article: Processability theory. Main article: Complex Dynamic Systems Theory. Longman dictionary of language teaching and applied linguistics.

London New York: Longman. New York, NY: Routledge. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics. Cambridge: Mar Sociocultural theory and second language acquisition. Language Teaching, 42 4 , Anderson, J. American Journal of Psychology. Bialystok, E. Applied Linguistics. Studies in Second Language Acquisition. Christiansen, M. Trends in Cognitive Sciences. Clahsen, H. In Andersen, R.

Second languages: a cross-linguistic perspective. Rowley, MA: Newbury House. Cook, Vivian Second language learning and language teaching. London: Arnold. DeKeyser, R. Ellis, R. Second language acquisition. Ellis, N.

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Gass, S. Second language acquisition: An introductory course. Hulstijn, J. Krashen, S. Principles and practice in second language acquisition. Pergamon Press. Archived from the original on Retrieved Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior. Nation, P. Learning vocabulary in another language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.