So far, the individual, whose first Language is not English has been widely researched in various countries. To note that, Second Language learners under compulsion for different reasons of learning an additional language at different age – group. The present paper aims to identifying the factors of learning a new language acquisition. It will be discussed Language environment, Hi-tech learning environment, Reading skill other than three towards second language acquisition might be generated and give some remedies.
“Language is a system that consists of the development, acquisition, maintenance and use of complex systems of communication, particularly the human ability to do so; and a language is any specific example of such a system” (online). Language is an essential part of human beings. We are gifted to communicate our ideas, emotions, feelings and thoughts which are all happened only through language. In the world, without language, we cannot survive. It is an exclusively human property. “When we study human language, we are approaching what some might call the “human essence,” the distinctive qualities of mind that are, so far as we know, unique to man and that are inseparable from any critical phase of human existence, personal or social.” (Noam Chomsky, Language and Mind, 1968:88).
- Language and society are interdependent
To tell you the truth, “Each language is the product of society. We cannot think of any language existing in a vacuum. Human language is transmitted from one individual to another not by physical inheritance but by learning. It has meaning only in relation to a particular culture and society. This is so because cultures are different. Language changes its shape and model according to the needs of the people in a particular society” (Sharma 2011:4). Thus, both language and society are interdependent. Language develops in a cultural context. In the hope that, nature of language can be divided into as (1) language is a unique, (2) language is a structure, (3) language is for communication.
- Mother tongue as a first tool
Learning, mother tongue is a process for every one usually a difficult task; and also being a first tool to communicate their idea and emotions; it starts from childhood. At this stage, their minds are the ‘unwritten blackboard’. The child can easily comprehend and imitates the sounds, words and patterns which he/she hears around him. The process occur between 2½ to 3 years, approximately.
- Input = Output
However, Helen Doron emphasis that “many children are brought up listening to and hearing 3 or Korean, his father speaks Hebrew, his mother tongue to him and the child has English environment at home because his parents speak to each other in English and of course, I speak to him in English. So my grandson is growing up with 3 languages” (Doron, online). As for, Alfadil Atahir himself writes, “internal processing strategies operate an input from the language environment and are not directly dependent on the learners’ attempts themselves to produce the language (2014:36)”.
Thus, a child can learn three languages which he/she speaks around him. There is no requirement for teaching method, approach, technique other than input = output. Ludwig wittgenstien complicates matters further when he writes, the limits of my language are the limits of my world.
- All natural languages link with universal grammar
In the early stages of acquisition, children as well as L2 learners tend, for example, to overgeneralize the regular rules of Grammar to irregular nouns and verbs (Alfadil Atahir, 2014:22). Chomsky, on the Other hand, has argued consistently for the view that “human language is too complex to be learnt in its entirety, from the performance data actually available to the child; we must therefore have some innate predisposition to expect natural languages to be organized in particular ways and not others. For example, all natural languages have word classes, such as Noun and Verb, and grammar rules that apply to these Word classes. It is this type of information which Chomsky doubts children could discover from scratch, in the speech they hear around them. Instead, he argues that there must be some innate core of abstract knowledge about language form, which pre-specifies a framework for all natural human languages. This core of knowledge is currently known as Universal Grammar” (Rosamond Mitchell & Florence Myles, 2004:12). However, universal grammar not have word with Noun and verb and grammar rules but with core of knowledge.
- Second Language
Although Rosamond may seem trivial, it is in fact crucial in terms of today’s concern over, “Second language research generally deals with learners who embark on the learning of an additional language, at least some years after they have started to acquire their first language. This learning may take place formally and systematically, in a classroom setting; or it may take place through informal social contact, through work, through migration or other social forces that bring speakers of different languages into contact and make communication a necessity”. Indeed, in the fun part of the 20th century, the target language is high likely to be English; a recent estimate suggests that while around 375 million people speak English as their first language, another billion or so at using it as a second language, or learning to do so” ( 2004:23).
Thus, in every sphere of life whether cultural, social, political, economic, it holds significant value. The following facts also determine the unique importance of English in our country.
- An international language
- A link language
- A language of medical, trade, industry and commerce
- An administrative language
- A language of opportunities
- A window on the modern world
- A library language
Attention to reading skill
Non – native speakers, takes long period to learn new language and pay more attention to certain reading skills other than three. It could be revealed in the view of Karen fung and Samira ElAtia (2015:25) who quoted the words of collier and Thomas (1989), “generally takes a significant number of years for newly immigrant students. Students of different language backgrounds who are new comers in canada may not perform as well as students who are naïve English speakers when it comes to national assessments that require certain reading skills. Mitchell, Destin and Karam (1997) estimated that gaining proficiency in a 10yrs to attain”.
Hi-tech Learning Environment
Parents and teachers have responsible to make their students interests and classroom to the world. According to Nasser oroujlou and Majid vahedi, “In today’s high – tech learning environment, it would be unfair to limit students to traditional methods. Encouraging students to relate their classroom experience to outside interests and activities make developing language skill more relevant. For example, computer – assisted language learning could be linked to playing computer games, or to computer programs that the students are interested in using, listening to English language songs, watching English language films or videos and reading English language websites can lead students to broaden their perspective on their language acquisition process”(2011:999). Moreover, there are some aspects of Second language acquisition as creative construction also observes from the words of Alfadil Atahir,“A learner ‘constucts’ a series of internal representation of the L2 system. This occurs as a result of natural processing strategies, such as transfer, generalization, etc. an exposure to the L2 in communication situation provided that the right kind of exposure takes place, the learner’s internal representations develop gradually, in predictable stages, in the direction in the L2 system” (2014:.33).
Language exhibits a critical period
Meshari and Alsairi state, “Critical period (cp) refer to the actual time frame during which foreign language acquisition should take place” (2017:141). Moreover, as we see in 3.1., Doron clearly states that a child can easily comprehend and speak which he/she hears around him. It could be take place at childhood level and enumerate it to holding them as a high language score.
If the critical windows is between to 3 to 7 years, why teach children before they can speak their mother tongue. Why not wait until they are 3 years of age? Well, it does a lot for the brain. As we learn in our mother tongue 1000 words a year, approx. until the age of 20 when it levels of, there is lots vocabulary and brain growth. Different languages have different psychological realities. Kids start to organize pure sounds (phonetics) into psychological realities (phonology) from the age of 4 months. That is why it is so important to introduce. Children to language and second language as early as possible.
However, there have been opposite, view about the language acquisition process. According to Stephen,“Older acquirers progress more quickly in early stages because they obtain more comprehensible input, while younger acquirers do better in the long run because of their lower affective filters” (https://www.goodreads.com).
Thus, second language acquisition can be possible under such circumstances of classroom activities. It may not be successful for every students by not getting brilliance, innovative teaching methods, standard schools, eminent teachers and so on.
- Difference between the process of first and second language acquisition
|First Language||Second Language|
|It takes place in a very natural way||It takes place in an artificial manner|
|The speakers have adequate opportunities and situations to speak||The speakers do not have adequate opportunities and situations to speak|
|Learning process starts from birth level (0-5manths) approximately||Learning process starts from educational level (2½ to 3 years) approximately|
|Teaching process can be made by their parents, neighbours and environment||Teaching process can be made by the teacher, friends and relatives|
|They are under unlimited time||Limited time|
In the above, fourth point speaking, the language process of educational level, that is, starts from 2½ to 3yrs approximately. Normally, the children have an opportunity to learn which speaks around his/her second language from their parents or neighbours in the earlier period. It could not be stand at the view of all the children’s learning process because some of their parents may be illiterate or may not be well known about second language. In this circumstances, the children enters school as a first step of learning second language they got only less situation to speak. At the same time, even teachers also focus on LSRW with limited time i.e. according to time table.
To conclude, the individual’s capacity to learn any language is based on his native ability, preview, training and so on. The speaker is not able to hear the voice of the other person because of cultural context. Apart from teachers, parents also have responsibilities to make an English speaking environment. Even it is not possible in all way, they can be introduced language games, movies, flash cards and making dialogue situations for learning new Language. It will also help the individual to overcome the struggle of learning second language. Therefore, concentrate on both Languages. Moreover, consider the suggestion of Meshari and Alsairi, the English Language should be used as the language of communication in the lessons. This will help reduce the teaching of abstract Grammar. The curriculum should also be designed with more sources and the use of modern materials such as electronic lessons to help students learn English in a shorter time (2018:147).
- Karen fung & Samira elatia, 2015, Using Hierarchical Linear Modelling To Examine Factors Predicting English Language Students Reading Achievement, TESL Canada journal/revue TESL DU Canada, volume 32, special issue 9.
- Meshari & Alsairi, 2017, Earlier is Better: Learning English in Saudi Arabia, English Language Teaching; vol. II, No. 1, Canadian centre of Science and Education.
- Nasser oroujlou & Majid vahedi, 2011, Motivation, attitude, and language learning, (international psychology (ICEEPSY 2011)), ELSEVIER Ltd.
- Parveen sharma, 2011, Teaching of English skills and methods, Shipra publications, New Delhi.
- Rosamond Mitchell & Florence Myles, 2004, Second Language Learning Theories, Hodder Arnold, London.
Research scholar, Department of English
R.V.S. Arts and Science College
Sulur, Coimbatore – 641402