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An examination of second language acquisition

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Lynn L.
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  1. Introduction.
  2. Chimpanzees and adoption of American Sign Language in captivity.
  3. Research headed by Jared Taglialatela regarding chimpanzees.
  4. The biological and neural pathways underlying language acquisition.
  5. Critical period for language learning.
  6. Language acquisition after puberty.
  7. Mixed language utterances.
  8. The Single System Hypothesis.
  9. Other research lending more support to the Single System Hypothesis.
  10. Conclusion.

Language acquisition is a complicated concept that many scientists have been trying to understand for years. It is known that humans are the only animals to develop a vocalized form of language. However chimpanzees have proved to be capable of not only learning a language but then teaching it to other chimpanzees. The language they mastered was not a spoken language but American Sign Language and what does it mean that these animals can also master language? This paper will examine the biological aspect of language acquisition, the role of a critical or sensitive period, theories relating to the acquisition of a second language, and differences in teaching and learning a visual language as compared to a spoken language.

[...] That said, it is important that the focus instructors teaching second languages that they do much of the work out loud rather than reading and listening. This lag in the formation of the words makes sense as one can often understand a question being asked but forming the answer presents as much more challenging. What then, should instructors teaching a visual language focus on? Works Cited Almgren, Margareta, and Andoni Barrena. "The Development of Future Morphology in Spanish and Basque by Monolingual and Bilingual Children." Cognitiva (2005): 127-142. [...]


[...] There are many theories in the realm of language acquisition and specifically what it takes to learn a second language. These theories are as multifaceted as the issue itself so one must be careful to consider the whole picture and not just specific aspects of a particular theory. The theories that will be showcased here are unique because they examine specifically how people are capable of learning two languages at once. This is an interesting model to consider because it is based on children learning the two languages. [...]


[...] A critical period is basically a window of time in which language acquisition may be more successful. The problem is that window closes. Once it closes language acquisition becomes markedly more difficult. This is why as years go by we will most likely see an increase in the number of kindergarten classrooms teaching English alongside Spanish or ASL. Another case often cited as evidence for a critical period is Genie (Curtiss 1977). Genie was a child who was locked in a room in isolation from very early on in her life. [...]

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