czwartek, 16 lutego 2012

Language acquisition vs language learning

There is an important distinction made by linguists between language acquisition and language learning.

Children acquire language through a subconscious process during which they are unaware of grammatical rules. So, acquisition is the natural, inherent, subconscious experience all native speakers undertake as they pick up their own language. The child has an inborn capacity for language acquisition. This psycholinguistic acquisition experience is universal and occurs in both first and foreign language develeopment.

Language learning, on the other hand, is not communicative. It is the result of direct instruction in the rules of language. And it certainly is not an age-appropriate activity for your young learners. In language learning, students have conscious knowledge of the new language and can talk about that knowledge. They can fill in the blanks on a grammar page. Research has shown, however, that knowing grammar rules does not necessarily result in good speaking or writing. A student who has memorized the rules of the language may be able to succeed on a standardized language test but may not be able to speak or write correctly.

So, the acquisition refers to the subconscious absorbtion of general principles of grammar of communication using the second or foreign language. Without experience acquisition cannot occur.
The amount of language the child is exposed is enormous in every minute of his life. In foreign language learning (F.L.) situation the exposure is very few hours a week. Thus, F.L. learning is a conscious knowledge of the rules governing the foreign language. In F.L. learning, learning involves a very different psycholinguistic experience. Learning a foreign language requires the students to study and to intellectually understand the grammar rules of the foreign language.

implicit, subconscious
explicit, conscious
informal situations
formal situations
uses grammatical 'feel'
uses grammatical rules
depends on attitude
depends on aptitude
stable order of acquisition
simple to complex order of learning

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