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Thursday, 27 December 2012

Definition of Second Language Learning and Acquisition

Second Language Learning and Acquisition

Language Learning or acquisition is the process through which learners develop the skills and capacity to use language. Language acquisition is often used to delineate learning of first language, whereas learning is used to discuss the acquisition of a second or subsequent language. Second Language Acquisition is the learning of a second language either by children or adults.

Language learning and more specifically Second Language Acquisition (SLA) has been explained in various ways. Theories such as Behaviourism, Structuralism, Relational Frame Theory, functionalist linguistics, social interactionist theory, and usage-based language acquisition have been fronted and developed to explain SLA. This field has been previously dominated by de Saussure’s distinction of Langue and Parole, a structural view of Language Acquisition, Saussure (1966). Schumann (1978) on the other hand developed the acculturation model.

The relationship between identity and Language learning

According to Norton B and Kellen Toothey, Learning a language also involves the identities of learners. This is because language is a complex social system, with the meaning being determined partially by the value attached by the speaker; it is not just s system of signs and symbols. Phan Le Ha examines the relationship between ‘Language, Culture, and Identity’ as ‘closely interlinked’ (p. 26) she then considers the formation of identity through mobility, transnationality and hybridity. Norton, (1998) in Rethinking Acculturation in Second Language Acquisition further argues that despite the differences between the learning experiences of children and those of adults, both struggle for identity, and this may lead to acquisition of more than one identity for an individual

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