ERIC Number: ED130494
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1975-Nov
Reference Count: 0
A Comparison of First and Second Language Learning.
Frith, May B.
McGill Journal of Education, v10 n2 p131-140 Fall 1975
A number of first language (L1) research studies are examined in an attempt to discover whether the hypothesized similarity between L1 acquisition and second language (L2) learning has any empirical support. The relationship between age and language learning is considered to determine if there are changes in learning ability, rate of learning and learning strategies with age. Studies show child language to be self-contained, internally consistent, systematic, and not dependent on the full adult system. Adults usually correct children's speech for content rather than syntax. Language learning appears to be a "creative construction" process; children make a series of hypotheses about the L1 as they learn it to explain the data they encounter. Studies of children learning various first languages suggest a universality of basic stages and processes. Language teachers should reduce monotonous syntactic practice and devise techniques and exercises to help L2 students perceive, internalize and use language patterns to express their own meanings. Some studies infer that language learning ability decreases with age, but there is no experimental evidence to support this. Contextual support is an important difference between L1 and L2 learning; if adults learn in settings offering opportunities for frequent meaningful communication, rate and quality of L2 learning should improve. (CHK)
Publication Type: Journal Articles
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A