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Second Language Acquisition: Differences between Children and Adults - Term Paper Example

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The author of this paper states that native language acquisition happens naturally and without problems for the majority of humans. It cannot be said about second language acquisition which is rather complicated process involving many factors that impact its success…
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Second Language Acquisition: Differences between Children and Adults
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Download file to see previous pages According to researchers as Pinker (1997), Schumann (1998), Gray (1999) ‘cognition’ embraces not only ‘representation of knowledge (information) in the mind/brain, processing, and acquisition of information’ but also emotion and motivation, developing and existing a social and cultural environment. (Hulstijn, 2002)

Vygotsky also believed that cognition originates in social experience and language mediates between cognition and social experience and the difference between an individual’s present and potential capacities can be accessed within a ‘zone of proximal development.’ Vygotsky’s students developed the Activity Theory which suggests that analyzing the components of human activities (motives, goals, interactions, etc.) provides insight into the development of consciousness. (Thomas, 2005)

Neuroscience researches different brain areas engaged in language production. However, it has no precise knowledge of how the brain part intact to produce knowledge. What is known is that there’s no single module in the brain which is responsible for language. In understanding how language is ‘generated’ in the brain one should ‘investigate the component operations of language and their neural substrates.’ (Beeman & Chiarello, 1998) However, neuroscience lacks evidence to demonstrate how “the area of the brain where explicit knowledge resides (the medial temporal lobe and hippocampus) and the area which carries control (the frontal temporal lobe) could somehow collaboratively act as ‘instructors’ to other brain areas where implicit knowledge (skills, habits, reflexes) is created.” (Hulstijn, 2002 p.193)

Language acquisition starts in the first years of life when children start to perceive acoustic signals and categorize them. From the neurophysiologic point of view, this means that “certain designated areas of the brain (for most individuals various areas of the left hemisphere) become specialized in storing and processing phonological and prosodic information for receptive and productive purposes.” (Fabbro, 1999 in Hulstijn, 2002 p.193). ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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