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Essay: First and Second Language Acquisition: Comparing L1 and L2

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  • Published: 1 February 2018*
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“First and second language acquisition and comparing between L1 and L2”;

This paper investigates the first and second language acquisition and comparing between L1and L2

This includes explication of the age factor and its

impact on progress in language acquisition.

first language is natural when the kid born the language born with them . it not just talk but the kid when he is hungry he crying . this stage the begining to use the language . this stage is show us how the language is  natural . and after this there are many of the  stages the kid Passes with it.

My opinion like Noam Chomsky ,he believes that children are born with an inherited ability to learn any human language. He claims that certain linguistic structures which children use so accurately must be already imprinted on the child’s mind. Chomsky believes that every child has a ‘language acquisition device’ or LAD which encodes the major principles of a language and its grammatical structures into the child’s brain. Children have then only to learn new vocabulary and apply the syntactic structures from the LAD to form sentences. Chomsky points out that a child could not possibly learn a language through imitation alone because the language spoken around them is highly irregular ‘ adult’s speech is often broken up and even sometimes ungrammatical. Chomsky’s theory applies to all languages as they all contain nouns, verbs, consonants and vowels and children appear to be ‘hard-wired’ to acquire the grammar. Every language is extremely complex, often with subtle distinctions which even native speakers are unaware of. However, all children, regardless of their intellectual ability, become fluent in their native language within five or six years.

Second language acquisition is learning a second language after a first language is already established. Many times this happens when a child who speaks a language other than arabic for example, goes to school for the first time. Children have an easier time learning a second language, but anyone can do it at any age. It takes a lot of practice.

Differences between First and Second Language Acquisition

‘ In first language acquisition, the basis for learning is universal grammar alone.  In second language acquisition, knowledge of the first language also serves as a basis for learning the second language.  There may be both positive and negative transfer between languages in second language learning.

‘ In first language acquisition, children spend several years listening to language, babbling, and using telegraphic speech before they can form sentences.  In second language acquisition in older learners, learning is more rapid and people are able to form sentences within a shorter period of time.

‘ In formal second language learning in older learners, learners are able to use more metacognitive processes in their learning.  They can consciously analyze and manipulate grammatical structures, and they can explicitly describe how language works.  This can speed the learning process.

‘ In second language learning in older learners, learners bring more life experience and background knowledge to their learning.  They have more schemata and more learning strategies to help them learn the second language.

‘ In second language learning in older learners, there may be less access to universal grammar, and sensitivity to phonological distinctions not present in the native language will be reduced.  Students learning in a classroom setting may also have fewer opportunities to learn language authentically.  These factors may reduce the likelihood that second language learners will attain native-like proficiency.  First-language learners always attain native proficiency, unless they have a disability that affects language learning.

‘ In first language acquisition, learners have many chances to practice with native speakers (especially caregivers).  In second language acquisition, learners may or may not have the opportunity to practice extensively with native speakers.

‘ Almost everyone acquires a first language, but not everyone acquires a second language.  Acquiring a first language happens naturally, while acquiring a second language often requires conscious effort on the part of the learner.


I discussion has presented the main points that have been raised over the relationship between L1 and L2 acquisition. And compare between L 1 and L2

and how the natural language is affected of the second language acquisition.


Allwright, R. (1987) ‘Concluding comments on second language acquisition in context’: in Ellis, R. (ed.) Second Language Acquisition in context. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, Prentice Hall. (P. 209-212).

Brown, H. D. (1994) Principles of language learning and teaching. New Jersey: Prentice Hall. Candlin, C. N. and Mercer, N. (2001) English language teaching in its social context. London, Routledge.

 Chomsky, N. (1981) Lectures on Government and Binding. Dordrecht: Foris. Ehrman,

M. E. (1996) Understanding Second Language Learning Difficulties. California, USA, SAGE Publications,

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