Theories of Language Acquisition
Language acquisition is such a fascinating and complex topic. It is defined as the process by which humans acquire the capacity to perceive and comprehend language, as well as to produce and use words and sentences to communicate. This process is not fully understood but many researchers, linguist and psychologist have worked to develop different theories on how language learners acquire second languages. In this paper I will briefly explore the subject of language acquisition for ESL students and the theories developed by Dr.Virginia Collier, Stephen Krashen and Dr. Jim Cummins. I will conclude with my personal reflection on all three theories and how they relate to the ESL student. Stephen D. Krashen's theory is centered on the idea that language learners can acquire a second language as they acquired their first language. He developed five hypotheses, the Acquisition/Learning Hypothesis, the Natural Order Hypothesis, the Input Hypothesis, the Affective Filter Hypothesis, and the Monitor Hypothesis. I specifically like the Acquisition/Learning Hypothesis because it differentiates between acquisition and learning. Krashen defines acquisition as the subconscious process of incurring a language from social interaction and the cultural environments as infants do in their first year of life. It is therefore the primary source of communicative language or as he refers to it “real communication”. Learning entails the decoding of grammatical rules and helps the learner with language structure. Acquisition is subconscious and indifferent to errors in composition as long communication meaning is properly perceived. During the acquisition process there is no self-correction involved. During the learning process, the learner is exposed to rules and therefore becomes concerned with errors. Both of these processes go hand in hand as acquisition deals more with meaningful substance whereas...