As research expands in learning how the brain functions in bilingual and multilingual language, current studies unravel common myths.
- Students who develop L1 (Native Language) and L2 (Second Language) acquire language skills equivalent to those acquired by speakers who have been in the L1-only programs. The L1 assists second language learners to build up useful skills to function in a world’s society and academic world. The home language acts as a bridge for students, enabling them to participate more effectively in school activities while they are learning L2. For example, English as a Second Language students (ESL) tend to transfer literacy skills from their native language as well as memory strategies, learning strategies for content knowledge and for language development in English (L2).
- It is another myth that children acquire L2 (Second Language) faster and better than adults. Children are not better language learners than adults because at a young age, they are still developing the conceptual abilities necessary for language learning and content knowledge development. Children are developing in parallel manner the cognitive and metalinguistic abilities necessary for L1 and L2 acquisition, such as literacy ability, conceptual learning, and topic knowledge. In contrast, adults can transfer literacy skills as a tool for learning L2, as well as memory strategies, learning strategies for content knowledge and for language development. Studies have also found that the younger one begins to learn L2, the more native like the accent one develops in that language. This factor may be true since pronunciation involves motor patterns that have been fossilized in the L1 and are difficult to alter after a certain period of age.
There’s no doubt that clarifying common myths in learning Spanish, English, or any other language presents the idea that people can learn a second language any time. If there’s a will to start the journey with perseverance, any diverse citizen of the world at any age and background, could speak a second language!
Hajimia, H., Singh, M. K. S., & Chethiyar, S. D. M. (2020). SECOND LANGUAGE ACQUISITION: KRASHEN’S MONITOR MODEL AND THE NATURAL APPROACH. PEOPLE: International Journal of Social Sciences, 6(03), 87–99. https://doi.org/10.20319/pijss.2020.63.8799
Sari, L. I. (2020, June). Second/Foreign Language Learning from the Socio-Psychological Perspective and the Implications in Language Classroom. In International Conference on Science and Education and Technology (ISET 2019) (pp. 411-417). Atlantis Press. https://doi.org/10.2991/assehr.k.200620.080