Being able to communicate is an indispensable quality of life. Reflect back over this last week; was there a day that you did not hear or communicate with someone whose native language was not English? Was there a job or task that you were not able to complete because of the inability to speak proficient? Most adults are apprehensive when it comes to learning a second language but children typically will learn their second language uninterrupted, if they know early on that they are going to be taught a second language.
Process of Learning
Language acquisition is defined as the process of learning a native or second language.(Dictionary, n.d.) There are several beliefs that come into play when discussing language learning acquisition. A popular belief is that children learn more rapidly than adults because adults need more time and effort to learn a second language. The reasoning for this belief is that for young children to learn two languages they are more than likely not to get confused. While these beliefs may be based on observations they beg to raise many questions(Rodriguez, 2008, p. 442).
For years researchers have struggled to answer questions regarding learning more than one language when it comes to evaluating various beliefs. Some of the questions have been:
• How do human beings acquire their first language?
• How do we acquire second or additional languages?
• Is there a difference in the way adults and children learn?
o If a difference does exist, at what age do they become apparent?
Components and Acquisition
There are several interrelated components and words that we will use, a few of them are listed below:
Phonology The sounds of phonological structure of the language (pragmatics)
Morphology The way sound units are organized into words
Syntax The order in which the words are in a sentence.
Semantics The meaning of words
(Peregoy, Boyle, & Cadiero-Kaplan, 2008, p. 35)
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