Can We Learn a Second Language Like We Learned Our First?
What you might not know is that there are strategies that can help you study more effectively, so that you make the most of your time and energy. This handout first explains some of the key principles that guide effective language learning, and then describes activities that can help you put these principles into practice. Use these tools to create a strategic study plan that helps your language skills grow.
Instead, he believes that learners should acquire second languages in the same way children learn their first. Krashen sums up the idea in a famous documentary on the subject called A child's guide to learning languages, produced by BBC Horizon in 1983. In the documentary, he says that acquisition is 'where the action is'. In other words, in every successful example of language-learning – an infant mastering a first language, an adult learner of English scoring a band 9 on the IELTS test – the reason for their success is that they have 'acquired' rather than 'learned' the language. So, how do children and proficient adult learners perform the seemingly magical trick of mastering a language, and what can teachers learn from this? Krashen offers the following ideas: We acquire languages when we can understand messages. Learners need to be exposed to what Krashen calls 'comprehensible input' – that is, exposure to interesting and understandable listening and reading material. In Krashen's view, we acquire languages when we understand messages. He stipulates that the emphasis should be on meaningful interactions and not on form. When parents speak to their children, for example, the emphasis is on meaning rather than the correct use of grammar. If the child says, 'Daddy fish water!', the parent is likely to respond, 'Yes, you're right, there's a fish in the river', rather than by correcting the child's grammar. The theory here is that exposure to sufficient quantities of comprehensible input always results in acquisition.
This underscores the indispensable utility value of language in all human interactions.
However, as we have learned that the first language is natural and has a solid base in a person’s intellectual and psychological development, the first language is not affected by the second language as much as the second language is affected by the first language. Finally, we can say that the relationship and the differences between a first and a second language are complex but constant.
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Wagner, J. (2006). Second Language Acquisition and Age. Web.