second language acquisition

What is Second Language Acquisition and Why is it Important?


Languages are amazingly complicated.

Think about it for a moment: What do you learn when you study a new language? And we are aware that every day, people all around the world learn languages for a variety of reasons, in a variety of settings, and with varying degrees of success.

Though many of us have trouble going beyond the most basic vocabulary and pleasantries, we all undoubtedly have that one buddy who appears to take up new languages with ease.


We can look to second language acquisition to learn more about language acquisition.

read also: Language Learning: Why and How to Acquire a Second Language

What is Second Language Acquisition

In a general sense, the term “second language acquisition” refers to the process of acquiring a nonnative language after the first language (L1), or native language, has been mastered, whether in a formal classroom setting or a naturalistic environment.


It is necessary to define a few terminology used frequently in the field before we get into the specifics.

The term “second language” refers to a language that serves significant institutional and social roles in a nation even if it may not be the dominant population’s native tongue (NL), such as English in India and Singapore.

As in the case of many immigrants studying English in the United States, a second language in the context of language learning is a nonnative language to which the learner has natural exposure.



A Brief History of Second Language Acquisition

The mid-1900s saw the beginning of serious research into second language acquisition as academics began to consider how first language acquisition, theoretical linguistics, and psychological insights could help us understand how adults learn second languages and how this might be applied to language teaching.

By the 1980s, SLA had successfully established itself as a distinct field of research. At this time, early and significant hypotheses about the acquisition of second languages began to gain traction.

These early hypotheses set the way for a research explosion that has continued to thrive today, interacting with many other scientific disciplines, including sociology, anthropology, cognitive science, neurology, and education.

The Best Way to Teach Second Language

The choice of how to teach someone a second language depends on a variety of factors, including the following:

Language used at home, the amount of opportunities to practice the second language, the learner’s own motivation, and the need for the second language (e.g., to learn at school, to talk to a friend, or for work)

There are various approaches to teaching the second language spoken by (e.g., Mom will speak only in German, and Dad speaks Russian only)

The ability of a person to use a second language will rely on how many languages members of their family can speak. Parents and other caregivers must set a good example for language use.

You should not teach a language if you are not proficient in it.

with setting (e.g., English is spoken only in the school, and Urdu is spoken only in the home)
Spanish is spoken throughout school and work activities, while French is only spoken during mealtimes.

Why is a Second Language Importance

The importance of second language acquisition for education may seem evident with regard to the first point.

second language acquisition research frequently influences teaching strategies, textbooks, curriculum designs, and even the activities in your language classrooms.

second language acquisition research aims to understand how all of these many aspects, as well as others, affect language learning.

Outside of the classroom, people learn languages at all ages in a variety of circumstances for a variety of different reasons, and they all approach it with varied strengths and weaknesses.

second language acquisition is crucial for forming public policy!

Immigrants make up a significant portion of second language learners in many nations; second language acquisition research can guide policies regarding how and when to teach these newcomers the local tongue while preserving their home languages.

second language acquisition is crucial for international relations and national security!

One of the major sponsors of second language acquisition research is the Department of Defense.

They need to find gifted language learners who can pick up the language rapidly and converse with locals and diplomats around the globe. Oh, and they’re probably also training spies.

The second language acquisition is crucial to the economy!

As more and more jobs demand language skills, acquiring a second language can help you stand out as a candidate in numerous fields.

second language acquisition has so many practical uses that we cannot cover them all in one video. However, second language acquisition significance in promoting cross-cultural understanding may be its most significant use.

The Prospects for Second Language Learning

Is learning a language impacted by age?

Which languages are more challenging to learn than others?

Why is it so difficult to get rid of your accent?

What impact does learning a second language have on who you are?

How does the brain handle learning a second language?

Does picking up a second language make you more tolerant of people from different cultures?

Stages of Second Language Learning


Depending on the learner, this stage could last anywhere from a few hours to several months.

New language learners often spend this time honing their vocabulary and working on word pronunciation.

While they might talk to themselves, they typically don’t do so with any real fluency or understanding.

initial production

The duration of this stage, which normally lasts six months, allows language learners to comprehend up to 1,000 words.

Additionally, even if their short phrases are not grammatically perfect, kids may learn to speak a few words and start to create sentences.

Speech recognition

By this point, most students have a vocabulary of up to 3,000 words and have mastered the art of communicating by combining words into simple phrases, sentences, and inquiries.

Even though they may not be grammatically perfect, this is a crucial phase where learners begin to read and write in their second language and improve their comprehension.

Middle level of fluency

The vocabulary of learners at this period, which might extend for a year or longer after speech emergence, can reach 6,000 words on average.

They typically develop the capacity to express themselves verbally and in writing using longer, more complicated sentences.

Additionally, at this critical point, learners start to genuinely think in their second language, which improves their ability to speak it.

 Ongoing language learning and improved fluency

Most students need at least two years to get to this point, and up to ten years to fully understand the intricacies and complexities of the second language.

For second language learners to keep up their fluency, they require regular opportunities to converse and express themselves in their target language.




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