Despite the relative rigidity of the L2 learning route, does occur in so far as the L1 has an impact upon L2 learning, even if it remains true that it is primarily in the sense of speeding up the learning process in the case of closely related languages or similar linguistic structures, rather than changing the route of development itself (i.e. learners still follow the same stages, but at different speeds, depending on their L1). For example, Italian learners of French will acquire the idiosyncratic placement of object pronouns in French more quickly than say English learners because it is similar in both languages, but they will still go through the same stages, when in fact transferring their L1 structure would lead to acquisition of the correct system. In fact there is ample evidence, in the literature, of transfer not taking place when it would help, and conversely of transfer taking place when it leads to errors. Moreover, transfer often occurs one way and not the other, with English learners of French, for example, producing la souris mange le (the mouse eats it) rather than la souris le mange (the mouse it eats), but French learners of English never produce the mouse it eats in their , which one would expect if transfer was taking place (). But there are also areas in which the L1 gives rise to structures not found in the language of other L2 learners (see e.g. ; ). The impact of the L1 on interlanguage development needs to be better understood, even if its potential influence on SLA remains limited since we know that only a small subsection of structures from the L1 are likely candidates for transfer.
According to Beller (2008), most hypotheses focus on the successive SLA, such as the behaviouristically oriented ‘contrastive hypothesis’, the nativist-oriented ‘identity hypothesis’, as well as the interlanguage hypothesis, while few of the studies have paid attention to the SLA of bilingual pre-school-aged children....
Crucially, these interlanguages are linguistic systems in their own right, with their own set of rules. For example, showed that although the plural is realised in almost exactly the same way in Spanish and in English, Spanish children learning English still went through a phase of omitting plural marking. It had been assumed prior to this that second language learners' productions were a mixture of both L1 and L2, with the L1 either helping or hindering the process depending on whether structures are similar or different in the two languages. This was clearly shown not to be the case, even if the L1 of learners does of course play some role, especially in early stages and more persistently at the level of pronunciation (more about this later).
He has theorized on the subject of second language acquisition for years and has been quite influential in the field of linguistics approaching the subject of second language acquisition by presenting his five hypotheses for his theory of acquiring a second language.
A substantial part of the SLA research community has concentrated on documenting and trying to understand the discovery that language learning is highly systematic. A defining moment for the field was in the late 70s / early 80s when it became evident that L2 learners follow a fairly rigid developmental route, in the same way as children learning their L1 do, and not dissimilar in many respects from the L1 route. Moreover, this developmental route, crudely represented below as a series of interlocking linguistic systems (or interlanguages: La, Lb, … Ln … ), sometimes bore little resemblance to either the L1 of the learner, or the L2 being learnt.
Myles, F., Mitchell, R., & Hooper, J. (1999). Interrogative chunks in French L2: A basis for creative construction? Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 21(1), 49-80.
Following an overview of current theories of bilingualism and second language acquisition as they apply to simultaneous bilingualism and language development, the analysis focuses closely on issues of bilingualism and child developmental issues.
It is very difficult to predict in second language acquisition what makes some people learn faster and better than others. Some factors have been isolated as playing some part in this. For example, age is one such factor (). Although the commonly held view that children are better L2 learners is a gross oversimplification if not a complete myth, differences have been found between children and adults, primarily in terms of eventual outcome. Although teenagers and adults have been found to be generally better and faster L2 learners than young children in the initial stages of the learning process (on a wide range of different measures), children, however, usually carry on progressing until they become indistinguishable from native speakers whereas adults do not, especially as far as pronunciation is concerned. Whether this is due to the process of acquisition having changed fundamentally in adulthood (e.g. because UG is not available anymore once the L1 has been acquired), or for other reasons (e.g. the process remains the same but stops short of native competence), is an issue hotly debated today, and the source of much empirical investigation (). The fact remains, though, that the route followed by young and older L2 learners is essentially the same, and is similar in many respects to that followed by children learning that language as a native language.
Drawing on research in both first and second language acquisition, the analysis consider the theoretical and empirical support for the strong continuity hypothesis.
Ellis (1994) referred to feedback as “the information given to learners which they can use to revise their interlanguage.” He also distinguishes two different kinds of feedback, positive and negative feedback; positive feedback has to do with the information that indicates that a hypothesis is incorrect.
Argues that interlanguage is both a valid and a useful construct in understanding second language acquisition and in providing an important basis for testing linguistic theory.
In this area of study, Johnson and Newport (1989) is among the most prominent and leading studies which tries to seek evidence to test the Critical Period Hypothesis (CPH) in second language (L2) acquisition.