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The Role of the Mother Tongue in Second Language Learning - Essay Example

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The reporter states that globalization has greatly increased the need for learning a second language due to expansion in communication between different communities. The Internet has indeed facilitated and expedited communication…
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The Role of the Mother Tongue in Second Language Learning

Download file to see previous pages... The impact of the first language on the second language can bring problems especially in intercultural communication where the speakers use a lingua franca such as English or another language, hence causing misunderstandings and problems in communication. This research argues that contemporary linguistic theory demonstrates that primary language interference necessitates that second language instructor increasingly explore bilingual instructional strategies for teaching second language acquisition.
The second language is any language that a person learns in addition to his/her first language. The term can also be used to refer to learning a third, fourth and subsequent languages. Second language acquisition is, therefore, the process by which people or learners study that language. The majority of linguists agree that errors made by second language learners originate from the speech of their first language. This occurs as a result of the influence of language transfer from the first language. The errors are mostly lexical or phonological. Still, the traditional approach to second language instruction has rigidly kept first and second languages rigidly separate. While instruction methods may be appropriate to keep a separate area for each language, linguistic theory demonstrates that bilingual instruction strategies are necessary.
Rather than language learning existing in a vacuum, the learners’ mother tongue influences the way the second language vocabulary is learned and recalled for use. Learners at their disposal compensate their lack of knowledge by constructing difficult lexical items that are characterized by errors emanating from their first language. How the mother tongue helps or hinders learning is dependent on language distance, that is, the learners’ knowledge of the second language. Of course, there are also external aspects to language acquisition. Breen (135) and Prabhu (158) note that language is a social phenomenon. Most people seek to learn a language to dialogue with the target language speakers and participate in their institutions. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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