English Language Acquisition

983 Words4 Pages
Various Theories on English Language Acquisition
“How do we acquire languages?” and “Do we acquire a second language the same way as we do our first one?” are questions asked by linguists, psychologists and pedagogues regarding the acquisition of both native and foreign languages. Article’s title specifies English, since it is the most spoken language in the world and there are multiple papers and books about language acquisition written in it, but all the researches have been made regarding any first (and second) language acquisition; yet most of the researchers have used English as basis for examination and comparison.
1. Innateness Hypothesis.
According to Noam Chomsky there is a language acquisition device in our brains that allows us to
…show more content…
(1) An important conclusion could be drawn here: a child is able to acquire as native any language in the world, if he or she is exposed to that language. This, however, leads to yet another question: can an adult acquire a language in such a way, or this is only feasible for a child at certain age? Adducing the innateness hypothesis, Andrew Radford points out a research that suggests there is a critical period for acquiring a language. (2) This by itself leads to the second theory discussed here.
2. Critical Period Hypothesis.
Multiple researches have been conducted to examine the notion that there is a critical period during which people acquire languages. They suggest that this period extends from an early age to puberty, and when it is over the language acquisition becomes difficult. Jacqueline Johnson and Elissa Newport provide evidences for the existence of such maturationally limited period for both first language acquisition and subsequent second language acquisition in their research paper. It is of interest to note that the study for the first language acquisition, conducted by Newport and Supalla, where their subjects were congenitally deaf and were exposed to ASL at different age but not after puberty, shows that,
…show more content…
It is important to note that these suggestopedic methods can be applied only by a suggestopedic teacher. Multiple tests and researches prove that this seemingly magical methodology works and leads to easier learning (not only of foreign languages but of all subjects) and health improvement. Among those is a research conducted by 20 experts from UNESCO in 1978 that confirmed suggestopedia’s high effectiveness of both children and adults.
Open Document