Essay Example on The difference between learning a closely related Language

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The difference between learning a closely related language and a totally unrelated one can be likened to the situation of two friends a good tennis player and a good soccer player who both take up squash while still continuing to have tennis and soccer respectively as their main games Ringbom 1987 The past two decades have witnessed a clear interest in the field of third language acquisition TLA after 1987 when Ringbom published the first book about TLA this field has established as a new research area on its own Traditionally second language acquisition SLA was the dominant field of foreign language learning and teaching According to Crystal 1997 the majority of the world's population is multilingual and the most of the present researches are focused on the process generally on multilingual communities and or among multilingual individuals Many different factors influence third language acquisition processes Odlin 1989 Cenoz 2001 De Angelis 2007 Jarvis and Pavlenko 2007 and Hall and Ecke 2003 stated lists of factors affecting 



TLA and additional languages in different degrees of detail Some of the factors seem to emerge as categorical ones such as the cross linguistic influence between and the language proficiency in each of the languages involved as well as the order of acquisition the age of the language learners and the degree of their language awareness Several studies have been published discussing and describing the language learning situation of learners studying more than one foreign language in the international context although research in TLA is very recent in general Generally speaking there is an agreement about the significant difference between the acquisition of the native language L1 and the acquisition of a second language L2 there seem to be two opposing views as regards the acquisition of a second and third and further languages Singh and Carroll 1979 clarify it there is no reason to assume that L3 learning is any different from L2 learning Learning a third language is learning just another second language Researchers studying third and additional language acquisition such as Dolinskaya 1993 Groseva 1998 Köberle 1998 Hufeisen 1998 and 2004 Agafonova 1997 Güler 2000 Lindemann 2000 Pál 2000 Hammarberg 2001 Ringbom 2001 and 2005 Winters Ohle and Seipp 2001 Gibson and Hufeisen 2003 Meißner 2004 Neuner 2004 Hammarberg and Hammarberg 2005 Hedquist 2005 Singleton and Little 2005 De Angelis 2007 Hufeisen and Marx 2007 Oebel 2007 Kacjan 2010 Tápainé Balla 2007 2008a 2008b 2009a 2009b 2011 argue that it is essential to differentiate between the different types of acquisition since both prior language knowledge and the experience gained through learning a previous language or previous languages have a significant impact on the acquisition of a further language

Palestine considers as a monolingual country with different dialects and accents Standard Arabic is the first official language and English is the second one In all primary schools in the Palestinian territories both languages are taught from the first grade Recently French is added as an optional language in the preparatory schools at the 7th grade Most of the students choose to learn it because both languages are related to each other so it will be easier to learn it also in order to follow the great breakthrough and communication as we mentioned above the world s majority population is multilingual Since French and English are the foreign languages most frequently chosen by Palestinian learners we concern with exploring the learning process and the effects of the knowledge of one foreign language on a further one The target group of my research is Palestinian school learners of English and French at different stages of their foreign language studies My ambition is not only to understand L1 Palestinian learners L3 learning processes better but to go one step beyond it and suggest that the results of my study can be used for making practical suggestions regarding the comparative teaching of two languages By understanding of the typological relationship of the two languages English and French that plays the most crucial role in the L3 learning processes of L1 Palestinian learners In agreement with the findings of several researchers based on a variety of language combinations e g Garrison 1990 Dolinskaya 1993 Granger 1993 Gabryś Barker 2006 Caplan Carbin 2006 and other studies that while some similarities may easily be noticeable for learners others are less salient and therefore a chance is missed to utilize already existing cross linguistic knowledge for the facilitation of L3 learning if these differences are not focused on in the classroom My idea aims at understanding Palestinian learners third language learning processes with a long term aim to contribute to creating an appropriate curriculum that acknowledges the differences between learning and teaching a foreign language as a second or as a third or fourth etc language and thus possibly facilitates and makes more effective the complex task of language learning

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