Second Language Acquisition

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Second Language Acquisition

Second language acquisition looks at how speakers gradually gain the ability to use another language other than their mother (native) language. In other words, it looks at how speakers achieve competence in a language other than their first language. The article looks at the effect of age as an issue related to second language acquisition. It also gives description and explanation of second language acquisition (SLA). The article mainly focuses on outlining the various stages (or processes) that a speaker undergoes in the process of developing competence in a second language. Also, it explains (s) on how it is that speakers build proficiency in a second language in the way they do is based on age, and this (input) play a significant role in determining how the acquisition process proceeds. Second language acquisition has broader meaning or scope than ‘foreign language acquisition.' Based on the context of many scholars, the ESL context provides more language-learning opportunities for the second-language learning through exposure to natural situations outside the classroom, such learners, unsurprisingly, will progress more rapidly than learners living in an EFL context. If an individual hear English as a Foreign Language, he/she will assume that it is tutored (or ‘classroom’) acquisition, however, since the controversy and the meaning of some terms related to Second Language Acquisition are known, there are should be some consideration to decide whether children are the better learner or adults are. Again, specific cases make us confused because sometimes, both children and adults perform the same ability in Second Language Acquisition. In this article, the author shows some evidence indicates that children are better at acquiring the second language than adults.

Relevancy to individuals

The relevance of this article to the individual can be divided into two parts. The first is the natural situation and the second is the classroom situation. Considering the maturity of the learners, adults are considered better than children in the classroom situation. But, considering that children are characterized as those age between 1 up to 12, one can overcome the problem by managing a classroom that supports their psychological development. Creating a conducive class for is also another measure. There are so many techniques in teaching processes that one can use to accommodate a specific situation. In the past, people used to see the teaching-learning activity as teacher-centered but nowadays training is seen as student-centered. There is only need to encourage students to learn. One can create an exciting teaching-learning activity. On the other hand, adults have a problem with the natural situation. Every rational human being is endowed with an innate natural capacity for processing language-both as speakers and listeners (that is, as encoders and decoders of language). This physical capacity is realized through a specialized faculty in the human brain which Chomsky refers to as the language acquisition device (LAD). It is common to look at the language processor regarding parts of the human brain, motor system and perceptual apparatus that are tuned to processing language. In SLA speakers reorganize the language processor to cope with another word- a feat that increasingly becomes difficult with age, according to the critical age hypothesis.

Relevancy to Workforce Education and Development

The relevance of this article to workforce education and development is that mental processing is involved in determining grammatical structures and rules. It is divided into two ways. The first is explication and the second is induction. The terms explication and induction are used to determine what kinds of the idea that we use to learn grammatical structures and rules. Explication is a kind of way where the structures and rules are explained to the learners. One example, we usually find it in the teaching and learning process in school. The teacher teaches the structures and the rules of English grammar. On the other hand, induction is a kind of way where the structures and the rules are learned through exposure. The learners find the general structures of the target language by themselves through interaction. In such cases, explication may even be a faster means of learning than induction, since induction requires that a learner be repeatedly exposed to words, phrase, and sentences along with relevant situations that give some indications as to their meaning. Based on this theory, children are high in induction, but adults are high in both explication and induction. Children are good at acquiring the second language when they get great exposure in it. It is difficult for us to explain about Subject + predicate + Object to a child. Children need as many as possible examples of their interaction because they have a great ability in imitating. Adult students have a maturity and an understanding of priorities that many younger students do not.


In summary, the articles indicate that children are better than adults in acquiring the second language. For the first factor, we know that children are low in explication but have high ability in induction. If explication is described as a classroom activity where the teacher teaches the students some rules in English, one can overcome the problem by implementing some methodology in language teaching for example suggestopedia method, direct method, etc.


Ausubel, D. P. (2015). The Adults versus children in second‐language learning: Psychological considerations. The Modern Language Journal, 48(7), 420-424.

August 14, 2023



Language Learning

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