Essay on Theories of first and second language acquisition

1550 Words Jan 22nd, 2014 7 Pages
Theories of First and Second Language Acquisition
There are various theories that have been put forward to describe first and second language acquisition. This paper outlines similarities and difference between first and second language acquisition. Additionally key theoretical points on second language acquisition have been identified. Finally, an explanation of how I intend to use my understanding of language acquisition theory to inform my teaching practice will also be included. Similarities of First and Second Language Acquisition
Rod Elis (1984) examined the concept of developmental sequences. Studies have revealed that both first and second language learners follow a pattern of development, which is mainly followed
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This theory is believed not to provide adequate explanations about how second language are acquired. However, there is value in the notion that an individual’s first language has an effect on second language acquisition efforts.
The innatist’s perspective put forth the concept of Universal Grammar (UG). According to White (2000) Universal Grammar offers the best perspective to understand the acquisition of a second language. The concept of UG supports the belief that individuals have an innate language competence that is not taught to them formally. This competence is altered by the acquisition of a first language. This results in the need for second language learners to get direct information about what is not grammatically acceptable in the second language (Lightbown &Spada, 2006). Otherwise learners may assume that some first language structures are also present in the second language when they are not. This perspective encourages investigation into learners’ language competence and gaining an understanding of what learners know about the language rather than how they use it.
The monitor model offers a couple valid points about second language acquisition. This model proposes that second language acquisition follows a predictable sequence. It also suggests that second language acquisition will occur when learners are exposed to language that is comprehensible

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