Second Language Acquisition

Topics: Linguistics, Language acquisition, Second language acquisition Pages: 9 (2577 words) Published: January 24, 2013

Name and surname(s): Heber Guerrero Giron Login: PEFPMTFL966476
Group: 31
Date: February 29, 2012


Second language acquisition is a process by which people learn a second language. It refers to any language learned in addition to the first language and the differences between both processes. Second language acquisition is a controversial issue; since, there is no a general agreement about how and when it takes place. Several theories and models have tried to explain the facts that may be involved in acquisition of a second language, Theories as the Behaviourism theories which state that acquisition is just a set of habits a learner may acquire or Nativist theories that suggest we all have a natural-born ability to acquire a language or models as Socio –linguistic models, Interactional models that express that language and society are connected and the former is affected by society , etc .However all the theories have failed to explain how acquisition really happen and yet there are many questions unsolved .

This essay refers to two of the most important theories in this field, the Input Hypothesis by Krashen and the Comprehensible Output Hypothesis by Swain, their differences, similarities and their relation with other theories proposed.

1. Swains and his Comprehensible Output Theory state that acquisition is a phenomenon that occurs when the learner tries to transmit a message and fails (encounters a gap between he knows and needs to know .Funiber 57.) Therefore, when Learners try and finally manage to produce utterances that can be understood by their partners, they have acquired new language knowledge. During this process learners have tested their knowledge and formulated hypothesis which have helped them to acquire new language forms.

2. Krashen makes a difference between acquisition and learning. The former is the natural process that occurs when a child participates in natural communication in his environment while he interacts with the world. It just the way people learn their own language. On the other hand, Learning is just the result of formal instruction and occurs when learners consciously study a language. When Krashen makes this differentiation he formulates his Monitor Model which has five different hypotheses such as the Natural Order Hypothesis, The acquisition / learning Hypothesis, The Affective Filter Hypothesis, The monitor Hypothesis and The Input Hypothesis.


The Input hypothesis is the most accepted and study theory within the linguistic field, it states that being exposed to comprehensible language (comprehensible Input) is the first step to acquire a language. However, it is important to mention that not only by listening to great deals of the target language, we will manage to acquire it since the language information a learner can be exposed to is not the same information he/she assimilates. INPUT should not be confused with INTAKE which is what the learner really assimilates from INPUT (Page. 38 Funiber).One of the most important theorist is Krashen, who gives Input a great importance in the process of language acquisition because he considers it the cause of language acquisition.

In order to process and assimilate the information from all the INPUT we may receive several factors have to be taken into account. For instance, we can mention some motivation, views the learners have about the language, age, etc. Krashen also consider these factors important in language acquisition. Also we can talk about some theorist such as Schumann, Giles and Byme who also see motivation and feelings...

Bibliography: 3. JACK RYAN (2000). A review of the role of the output in second language acquisition with anecdotal examples from Japanese’s learner experiences, pp 39-46.
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