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Second Language Acquisition. Essay

3332 words - 13 pages

The essay was focused on the following question: What possible explanations are there for the failure of EFL students to achieve native-like competence in a second language.
SECOND LANGUAGE ACQUISITION
The outcome of first language acquisition is a success in children. Children acquire the grammar of the ambient language. Adult language acquisition, on the other hand, results in varying degrees of success or failure to acquire the target language. Some learners might be completely successful, some might fail or they might achieve high levels of proficiency. There exist possible clarifications to the failure in second language competence. We will examine three probable causes that will explore the deficiency in the second language competence (Psycholinguistic, sociolinguistic and discourse theories).
The Psycholinguistic theory covers the cognitive process that makes possible to generate a grammatical and meaningful sentence out of vocabulary and grammatical structure, as well as the process to make it possible to understand utterances, words, texts, etc. It concentrates in the internal process of acquiring language and their effect on language learning. One internal factor is the development of Interlanguage, which is developed by learners of a second language who have not become fully proficient, but are only approximating the target language. Learners use some features of their first language during speaking and writing and they also create their own innovations; it is a system based upon the best attempt for learners to provide order and structure to the linguistic stimuli surrounding them. Interlanguage is particularly based on the learners’ experience on the target language. The learner creates an interlanguage using different learning strategies such as language transfer, overgeneralization and simplification. In the language learning process, learners’ errors are caused by borrowing patterns from the mother tongue, by extending patterns from the target language and by expressing meaning using the words and grammar which are already known. Language learning acquisition is a gradual process where errors will be unavoidable, but learners will slowly and tediously succeed in establishing closer and closer approximations to the system used by native speakers. Educators can give appropriate feedback after checking learners’ interlanguage, and assure learners that making mistakes is a procedure of development from the mother tongue to the second language.
Universal Grammar is another theory that explains failure of second language competence. It is said that Universal Grammar is a natural unconscious ability present at birth, that is a knowledge of grammar. This does not imply that a person does not make mistakes, but that they do make mistakes but irregular types of errors, and somehow a person has the ability to accept these errors and re-apply them. The set of grammatical rules are learned through conditioning, meaning that if a person when...

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