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A mini paper: Similarities and Differences of First and Language Acquisition


Language acquisition is one of the most impressive aspects of human development. It is an amazing occurrence which has attracted the attention of linguists for generations. First Language Acquisition (FLA) and Second Language Acquisition (SLA) have sometimes been treated as two distinct phenomena creating controvers due to their variabilit in terms of age and environment. !"ford (#$$%& ') in distinguishing between FLA and SLA argues that the first arises from naturalistic and unconscious language use and in most cases leads to conversational fluenc ( whereas the latter represents the conscious )nowledge of language that happens through formal instruction but does not necessaril lead to conversational fluenc of language. Fillmore (#$*$&+##) proposes that this definition seems too rigid because some elements of language use are at first conscious and then become unconscious or automatic through practice. In another point of view, -rown (#$$'& '*) argues that both learning and acquisition are necessar for communicative competence particularl at higher s)ill levels. For these reasons, it can be argued that some of the

characteristics of L. acquisition show similarities with L# acquisition, whereas others show differences and the following section of the paper will e"plain about those. SIMILARITIES OF L1 AND L2 ACQUISITION /esearchers have carried out numerous studies to understand the nature of first and second language acquisition. 0hese studies have revealed that both first and second language children follow a pattern of development( therefore the similarities as written in the following paragraphs. In both first and second language acquisition, universal grammar ma independentl influence have some

learning. In second language learning, universal grammar ma influence learning either or through the first language. 0here are also predictable stages, and particular structures acquired in a set order. Individuals ma move more slowl or quic)l through these stages, but the cannot s)ip ahead. In both terms, ma)ing errors is a part of learning. 1hildren need to ma)e and test h potheses about language to build an internal representation of the language. In the initial stages of learning, children ma use chun)s of language without brea)ing them #

A mini paper: Similarities and Differences of First and Language Acquisition

down or processing them as independent units. In later stages, the ma ma)e new errors as the begin to process the parts of each chun) according to the rules of their language s stem. For e"ample, a learner ma start out using the correct form of an irregular verb as part of a language chun), but later overgeneralize and place a regular affi" on that same verb. In both first and second language acquisition, the learner uses conte"t clues, prior )nowledge, and interaction to comprehend language. 0herefore, a learner2s proficienc can var across situations though certainl affected b the age of the children. 0he also need comprehensible input and opportunities to learn language in conte"t in order to increase their proficienc . In the process, children often comprehend more comple" language than the are able to produce. 0he ma overgeneralize vocabular or rules, using them in conte"ts broader than those in which the should be used. DIFFERENCES OF L1 AND L2 ACQUISITION 3hile L# and L. acquisition reveal some similarities, the also show differences. 0he differences of the process of acquiring first and second language have been gathered from various sources and elaborated in these following points&

In first language acquisition, the basis for learning is universal grammar alone. In second language acquisition, )nowledge of the first language also serves as a basis for learning the second language. 0here ma be both positive and negative transfer between languages in second language learning.

In first language acquisition, children spend several

ears listening to can form

language, babbling, and using telegraphic speech before the

sentences. In second language acquisition in older children, the process is more rapid and people are able to form sentences within a shorter period of time.

In first language acquistion, children have man chances to practice with native spea)ers (especiall caregivers). In second language acquisition, children ma or ma not have the opportunit to practice e"tensivel with native spea)ers.

A mini paper: Similarities and Differences of First and Language Acquisition

Almost ever one acquires a first language, but not ever one acquires a second language. Acquiring a first language happens naturall , while acquiring a second language sometimes requires conscious effort on the part of the learner.

1hildren are older and more mature than the were when acquiring the first language and so have whatever advantages that age confers in terms of wor)ing memor , conceptual and social development, command of speech st les, and so on.

/elated to some factors that clarif

the differences of first and second language

acquisition, the following table is provided. FACTOR -iological45h siological (sensor motor coordination, ph sical and cognitive maturit ) 1ognitive (thin)ing and learning strategies, learning aptitude, previous )nowledge) 5s chological (personalit , motivation, ego9permeabilit , attitude) Social (relationship to culture4group, degree of integration, membership of social groups, social identit ) FLA 6appens in con7unction with maturation -ecomes a means if child ma)ing sense of the world 8ot consciousl taught in earl childhood (although careta)er9 adults ma :model; correct use of language 8o motivation, since the do the process without self9 consciousness SLA Sophisticated needs as mature person

L. learners have less cognitive4neurological fle"ibilit <ifferent range of motivations /ange of attitudes to the group of L. L. learners has access to L# spea)ers; group L. learners can identif with a primar social groups of L# spea)ers

Input and =nvironment (nature and amount of language input)

3ithout L#, children will be isolated from other humans =ssential for communication with those closest to the child =mbedded in socialization process Associated with L# culture and group membership Learnt entirel through >an possible interaction environments can affect the process of Immersed in environment SLA where L# is used 1ombination of naturalistic and tutored L. acquisition

A mini paper: Similarities and Differences of First and Language Acquisition

A NOTE ON TERMINOLOGY In discussing second language acquisition, the terms of acquisition and learning ma be somehow confusing. 0he term :acquisition; is used to refer to the learning that ta)es place without a deliberate attempt to learn. 3hile :learning; implies a conscious attempt to master a certain aspect of language. 6owever, in this stud , it focuses on describing and understanding process from the learner;s point of view. 0herefore, according to =llis, SLA is the stud of the wa in which people learn a language other than their mother tongue, inside or outside of a classroom. Second language here means an language subsequent to mother tongue, including +rd and 'th languages, or sometimes referred to :foreign language;. !n the other hand, for discussing a more restricted topic, the term of second language learning ma be appeared. Second language learning is a specific act that involves deliberate attempt at :learning;9a conscious part of the process. According to the theor of Acquisition versus Learning related to second language, there are two terms which is called implicit and explicit. Implicit means the process of acquiring language without an consciousness of the language user which relates to the term of acquisition. 3hile explicit means the process of acquiring language on purpose and it is related to term of learning. 0herefore, b this theor , a second language can be considered as an acquisition or learning if it fits the description as follows, (8ababan, #$$.&*?)& #. .. +. Acquisition has similar characteristics with the first language acquisition of a native spea)er, while learning is a formal )nowledge. In acquisition, a child or second language learner will acquire the language li)e a picking up process, while in learning, the process is knowing the language. In acquisition, the teaching process will not influence much to the competence of the )id, while in learning, it helps a lot.


A mini paper: Similarities and Differences of First and Language Acquisition

Second language learning has some characteristics as described in these following points& In formal second language learning in older children, children are able to use more metacognitive processes in their learning. 0he can consciousl anal ze and manipulate grammatical structures, and the

can e"plicitl

describe how

language wor)s. 0his can speed the learning process. In second language learning in older children, children bring more life e"perience and bac)ground )nowledge to their learning. 0he

have more

schemata and more learning strategies to help them learn the second language. In second language learning in older children, there ma be less access to universal grammar, and sensitivit to phonological distinctions not present in the native language will be reduced. Students learning in a classroom setting ma also have fewer opportunities to learn language authenticall . 0hese factors ma reduce the li)elihood that second language children will attain native9li)e proficienc . First9language children alwa s attain native proficienc , unless the have a disabilit that affects language learning. It is ver important to understand between these two terms since the ma be used interchangeabl in the discussion of language acquisition. 0his part of this section is added in order to clarif the confusion in the readers; mind. CONCLUSION Language acquisition is the process b which humans acquire the capacit to perceive and comprehend language, as well as to produce and use words and sentences to communicate. Languages acquired b the children are related to the terms of first and language acquisition. 0his paper has presented the main points that have been raised over the relationship between L# and L. acquisition,their similarities and differences. Second language acquisition also differs from the second language learning and these two terminologies to be ta)en seriousl acquisition. for those who have interest in language


A mini paper: Similarities and Differences of First and Language Acquisition

AlAhazali, Fawz . .%%B. First Language Acquisition vs. Second Language Learning: What is the difference 1LSS&London.
-rown, 6. <. (#$$') !rinciples of language learning and teaching . 8ew Cerse & 5rentice 6all. !"ford, /. L. (#$$$) DAn"iet and the language learner& new insights & In AlAhazali, Fawz . .%%B. First Language Acquisition vs. Second Language Learning: What is the difference 1LSS&London. (p.+9')

8ababan, S.E.S, #$$.. !sikolinguistik: Suatu !engantar. Aramedia 5usta)a Etama& Ca)arta.