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Second Language Acquisition Term Paper


Learning English is essential in teaching practices. The world languages are classified into different families. Some languages form member families while others do not. Diverse linguists center their opinions on the differences on what constitutes a family or a stock. The idea of Merritt Ruhlen, a serious lumper based on his classification, identified 19 language families and five isolates. Second language acquisition research has played a potential role in enhancing change in teachers’ strategical beliefs and practices. Some language families, such as Indo-European and Austronesian, are well developed, and they register few doubts to their genetic connection. Considering Ruhlen and Ethnologue, no evident research proves the genetically relationship of the Australian family languages. The language learning process has an unending history among people in an educational system.

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Fundamental of SLA
Second language acquisition (SLA) is a young field that has its precise origin in the early 1950s and 1960s. It focuses on how non-primary language learning occurs. The existing research shows that second language acquisition is language teaching, an Idea contradicted by the International Commission of Language Acquisition (ICoSLA). They started that it is focused on examining acquisition as a phenomenon of its standards it is not related to the facilitation of the SLA. According to McGregor (2009), SLA learning provides a vibrant and sophisticated base of knowledge among learners in various global institutions. He presented the complexities involved in L2 education and further extended the research to foreign language teaching. Over the past few decades, SLA analysis presents uncovered findings designed to improve L2 learners. The current study conducted with L2 adult learners discuss the principles of learning across all gender and age boundaries.

Sociocultural Language Learning Perspective
The sociocultural theorists view second language learning to originate from social and cultural norms. The claim that target language interaction based on culture places a central role in language learning has raised myriads of questions to the learners. The view and anticipation of linguistic knowledge in dialogue have a deep root in enhancing second language development. Mitchell et al., (2013) underpins that interaction forms part of the learning activity, and it is quintessentially social and not individual nature. Their idea to transform language learning process based on the theoretical value is connected to a Soviet developmental psychologist, Vygotsky. Contemporary research conducted by Vygotsky or the sociocultural theory evaluates the relative ideas and thoughts on current language acquisition in the global society.

The psychologist Vygotsky coined then the concept of scaffolding and argued that learning is connected to social interaction between different age groups, societies, and states. In the case of foreign language learning, the instructional component such as caregiver lays the foundation for language learning. Based on his zone of proximal development, Vygotsky posited that caregiver or parent facilitates learning. It was part of a daily routine to help the child raise his/her performance. Other researchers such as Long and Sato view scaffolding as a crucible option of language acquisition. They argued that language learning evolves from syntactic instructions developed from daily conversation.

Sociocultural Theory and the Second Language Acquisition
Vygotsky’s involvement in scientific circles in early 19th centuries shaped his understanding and view on language development. The perception on child development became influential having been promoted by psychologists and development theorists such as a James Wertsch and Barbara Rogoff. Modern language studies and modifications to Vygotsky’s original ideas qualify that current sociocultural theory is best known as neo-Vygotskian. Many educational researchers such as Daniels (2007), Wells (1999, 2009), and Mercer (1995) applied classroom studies and connected their language learning to interactions (Mitchell et al., 2013,). Arguments centered on education outlay that mediation forms the central concept in Vygotsky’s writing. Reviews by Lantolf (2000) give a substantial introduction by distinguishing the idea of sociocultural theory; he posits that higher forms of human mental activities must be mediated. Another study by Vygotsky (1987) presents that human actions are not direct to the physical world, but they depend on tools and labor activities (Mitchell et al., 2013). Humans use symbolic tools and signs to mediate and regulate learning activity. Physical and metaphorical tools are with time created by human cultures and are made available for the future generation. Vygotsky’s model view explains the logical organization of human social and mental activities and the interconnection to the culturally social relationships and constructed artifacts.

Research and Foreign Language Learning
Enhancing language awareness spreads explicit knowledge about language use, sensitivity in language learning, and conscious perception. Research focuses on creating awareness in making the learners develop implicit knowledge of the first language L1. Second language acquisition researchers examine the explicit role knowledge can play in enhancing the cognitive process connected to the L2 acquisition. The development of SLA based on researchers is related to metalinguistic knowledge, awareness, and ability. In the case of Catalonia, Muñoz (2000) posited that among the 6.5 million people speaking Catalan, four million are Catalonian native while the rest occupies Andorra and the Balearic Islands.

Another study conducted on foreign language learners indicates that most children constitute of the highest percentage of foreign language learners. Analysis of language awareness and cross-linguistic awareness suggested that limiting the children’s cognitive development has affected their educational standards and second language acquisition. Currently, previous investigations that focused on elementary school development perceive language learning as elicited through data information.

Language Teaching
Language learning over the time has been an area of interest by different linguists and researchers. Adam de Swan argued about the position and the hierarchy of languages since some languages were specific to a particular geographical location. He classifies Super-central languages as Spanish, Arabic, and French while Hyper-central languages as English. Based on his analysis, the relevant immigrants learned local languages as second languages. The historical prevalence shows that the 18th century marked the importance of identifying the critical dimensions of a nation (Cook & Singleton, 2014). Among the global states, England was governed by kings and queens who were bilingual speakers of Dutch, French, and German. Another group of language consisted of the Italian. The Italians were fluent in Venetian, Ladino, Sardinian, and German. The existing differences between native language speakers (L1) and Second language speakers (L2) are dues to race and nationality.

Differences Between the First language (L1) and Second Language (L2)
Language awareness has considerably impacted students’ knowledge of their first languages (L1). We, hence, look how different perceptions in the second language acquisition (L2). Different challenges, such as English transparency and its pronunciation, have impacted L2 significantly. Language awareness between the two levels of language has made language learning possible in different states. The English language has, however, been situated in the learning context. The transparency challenges between native English speakers and second language speakers (L2) have created the need for phonological awareness among learners and teachers.

Language speaking and acquisition in the ancient world have then impacted contemporary education. In conditions where English is used as a second language, the expectation of relying on a written form to understand the oral form must change. According to Selinker (1972), it is contrary to the learner’s experience to understand the relationship between letters and phonemes in English. Massive exposure to oral English is needed to conclude the grapho-phonemic rules. New connections between sounds and messages must be studied to help analyze and partition the structure of the sound (Nemser, 1971). The grammatical skills of each language and regular features have to be given maximum attention.
Most languages share similarities when analyzed deeply. Language learning for a child is a systematic process that involves multiple changes. Learners pass successive stages each after another. The closest to the target language are regarded the most advanced with a standard dialect of educated native speakers (Firth & Wagner, 1998). English has a usual order of acquiring particular grammatical morphemes. The characteristic is common in learners who tend to follow the same structure. Several developments have been made in psychology, linguistics and L1 acquisition (Gass, 1998). A great deal of time, however, has to be spent on learners to develop their morph syntactic system. Continued research on second language acquisition led to the addition of the social field and written positioning of language.

Language learning is a transitional process. SLA relation with specific intelligent systems and individual acquisition makes it fundamental to see the nature of language preferably on the second or foreign language (Kasper, 1997). Decontextualizing linguistic components examines learners regarding the ability to use the word and their knowledge. Patterned means anticipated in conversations are vital in the acquisition of grammatical morphemes. Besides, the way our communication practices are routinized and realized gives SLA a different explanation from the buildup of linguistic structures. Therefore, there exist a high similarity and differences between an L2 learner and native speakers, some of which showcases of language inferiority.

Age and Second Language Acquisition
There exist some specific features of learning a native language. Factors such as age have a considerable impact on both bilingual language and non-native language. Generation joins with multiple factors such as the educational, social, and educational variables, hence affecting the rate of learning or success of the learner (Abello-Contesse, 2006.) Based on this fact, a more complicated picture is revealed creating both favorable and unfavorable difference related with age. The association focuses on the new individuals interested in learning L2 despite their origin and nationality; the factor extends from birth till death with a claim that the optimal learning age ends at puberty (Lo ́pez- Jiménez & Torreblanca-Lo ́pez, 2006.) However, research states that actual opportunities made for learning in the context of L2 acquisition that is, the learning situations, level of exposure and sustainability are affected by age to a greater margin (Munoz, 2007). The researchers further stated that some of the differences in the age are the limit in which one can learn the native language. Older children and teenagers are considered perfect and expected to be more effective in learning L2 as compared to children beginning between the ages of four to eight to a target years.

Exposure to a target language through teaching in L2 favors young people. The factor, however, has been the center of a dispute in second language acquisition with the view of an invariable law applicable to the different context of an L2 acquisition. The second language acquisition process is, hence, seen to have its various adverse measures varying from external to psychological factors, which when handled could lead to student’s success. Additionally, Abello-Contest centered his arguments that both the older and the younger generation have equal opportunities to achieve balanced and advanced levels of proficiency when studying the second language. In the case of school development, culture holds a critical position in language learning and transformation.

The second language acquisition and development has been impacted by various linguistic, sociological and educational factors. In the modern world, language learning process is connected to age, and cultural factors existed in the global society. Bilingualism and multilinguistic have posted a considerable to both English native speakers and second language learners. The idea to transform L2 learning in primary schools has continuous repercussions to the L1; this is due to the interest of the native speakers to participate in the process accurately. The sociocultural view of learning perspective concentrates on the societal position in SLA and encourage systematical opinions connected to studying language variations.

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Abello-Contesse, C. (2006). Does interaction help or hinder oral L2 development in early English immersion? Retrieved from https://academic.oup.com/eltj/article/63/2/170/441108
Cook, V., & Singleton, D. (2014). Key topics in second language acquisition (Vol. 10). Multilingual Matters. Retrieved from http://www.multilingual-matters.com/display.asp?K=9781783091799
Firth, A., & Wagner, J. (1997). On discourse, communication, and (some) fundamental concepts in SLA research. Modern Language Journal, 81, 285–300.
Firth, A., & Wagner, J. (1998). SLA property: No trespassing! Modern Language Journal, 82, 91–94.
Gass, S. (1998). Apples and oranges: Or, why apples are not orange and don’t need to be. Modern Language Journal, 82, 83–90.
Kasper, G. (1997). “A” stands for acquisition: A response to Firth and Wagner. Modern Language Journal, 81,307–312.
Lo ́pez- Jiménez, M. & Torreblanca-Lo ́pez, M. (2006). Age in L2 acquisition and teaching. Bern, Switzerland: Peter Lang.
McGregor, W.B. (2009). Linguistics: An introduction. Continuum, pp. 310-318.
Mitchell, R., Myles, F., & Marsden, E. (2013). Second language learning theories (3rd ed.). London: Routledge.
Muñoz, C. (2000). Bilingualism and trilingualism in school students in Catalonia. Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 157-178.
Muñoz, C. (2007). Age-related differences and second language learning practice. Practice in Second Language, 229-255.
Nasr, I. (2017). Leadership effectiveness of school principals and institutional development: The overarching role of leaders’ national culture in Arabic Schools in the UAE. Retrieved from https://bspace.buid.ac.ae/bitstream/1234/1068/1/2015101018.pdf
Rosenthal, J. W. (2013). Handbook of undergraduate second language education. London: Routledge.

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