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Second Language Acquisition In Childhood Essay

1254 words - 5 pages

Children acquire their native language, which fall within a wide range of languages, at a very early stage of development. During development, a child begins to show signs of verbal communication, usually starting out as cooing, babbling, recognizable words, and later two or more word sentences. This occurrence is also seen in the development of second languages. Second language acquisition is the study of how second languages are typically developed. The process of acquiring our native language is very similar and influential to the development of a second language. The development of a second language has become increasingly popular throughout the world. Today more people are growing up with appropriate resources to acquire a second language, which can be seen from the vast numbers of bilingual individuals.

As previously stated, “Second language acquisition is the study of how an additional language is developed within a child’s life” (Gass & Selinker, 2008). According to researchers David and Wei (2008) “evidence seems to suggest that bilingual children’s language development is by and large the same as that of monolingual children”(p.599), meaning these children go through the same process beginning with babbling, followed by one-word sentences and progressing towards a more develop multiword stage. They way in which a child develops his/her first language becomes a guide for the development of a second language. Children may use their language skills acquired during L1 (first language) learning to help them obtain foreign languages. Research has shown that “both L1 and L2 are tools that serve complementary and sometimes overlapping functions” (Kohnert, 2008). Whether to use first language verse second language may depend on the child’s environment. For example, a French-English child may use his/her native language of French when conversing with family, however, in an outside environment such as school, the child would switch to his/her second language. According to Kayser (2004) “suggests that first-language literacy development is strongly related to successful second-language learning and academic achievement, and that literacy skills developed in the native language transfer to the second language”. This additional research provides more support for the way in which children obtains second languages.

Kohnert, (2008) an associate professor in the Department of Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences, “L2 learners are sometimes referred to as “sequential bilinguals” which are individuals with consistent experience in one language beginning at birth, who then acquire L2 at some point in their lives”. The process of acquiring a second language may occur during early development, which includes educational programs or L2 may be acquired on trips to foreign countries. Educational programs are set throughout schools, allowing students the opportunity to expand linguistic abilities. Foreign languages are beginning to be...

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