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ERIC Number: ED099108
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1973-May
Is Second Language Learning Like the First?
Ervin-Tripp, Susan M.
The research reported in this paper concerns an initial study asking two questions: Is second language learning like first language learning? Is there a change in learning rate or process with age? A nonrandom sample of children aged 4 to 9 years was studied. Subjects were 31 English-speaking children in Geneva, Switzerland, who were in schools where French was the instructional medium and who had not been exposed to French for more than 9 months. Data were collected from comprehension tests, imitation sentences, elicited translations, diary records and taped natural conversations. It was found that the functions of early sentences, and their form, semantic redundancy, reliance on ease of short term memory, overgeneralization of lexical forms, and use of simple order strategies all were similar to processes seen in first language acquisition. Also, it was found that the older children had an advantage and learned faster. Therefore, it is possible to say that if languages are structurally very similar, children go faster through essentially the same stages that a first language learner does, when the language is learned in a naturalistic setting. However, further research is needed in this area. (Author/ED)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. of Mental Health (DHEW), Bethesda, MD.
Authoring Institution: California Univ., Berkeley. Language and Behavior Research Lab.
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (San Juan, Puerto Rico, May 1973)