Academic journal article Studies in Literature and Language

What Is the Role of L1 in L2 Acquisition?

Academic journal article Studies in Literature and Language

What Is the Role of L1 in L2 Acquisition?

Article excerpt

Abstract

Based on the longitudinal studies on the second language acquisition, the role of L1 in L2 acquisition consists of 6 different areas: (1) with the behavioral theory to explain the SLA, focusing on the role of conditions; (2) to explain the interaction of SLA, emphasizing communication and social needs; (3) to explain the SLA with the cognitive theory, emphasizing the logic and thinking processes; (4) with the nativist theory or biological theory to explain SLA, stressing the inherent genetic capacity; (5) to emphasize the learner and learning strategies. (6) L1 transfer in L2 acquisition of phonetics, lexicology, syntax, semantics and pragmatics. In this article, the longitudinal studies of language transfer will be summarized and the observations will be listed to support the role of L1 transfer in L2 acquisition. Variety of findings indicates that the role of L1 transfer in L2 acquisition can never be neglected.

Key words: SLA; language transfer; Phonetic transfer; Lexical transfer; Pragmatic transfer; The role of L1 in L2 acquisition;

(ProQuest: Foreign text omitted.)

INTRODUCTION

Since the second language acquisition came into being in the 1960s, it has become a hot study, especially the role of L1 in L2 acquisition. From the 1980s, the research areas of second language acquisition continue to expand and the problems discussed tend to deepen. Those studies have had a positive, extensive and far-reaching impact on general rules of language, cognitive development, language development, social language issues and cultural universality of language problems and other issues, meanwhile, the studies also played an important role in guiding L2 teaching and reform. So far, researchers have summed up six different scopes:

a. With the behavioral theory to explain the SLA, focusing on the role of conditions;

b. To explain the interaction of SLA, emphasizing communication and social needs;

c. To explain the SLA with the cognitive theory, emphasizing the logic and thinking processes;

d. With the nativist theory or biological theory to explain SLA, stressing the inherent genetic capacity;

e. To emphasize the learner and learning strategies;

f. L1 transfer in L2 acquisition of phonetics, lexicology, syntax, semantics and pragmatics. SLA theory can be summarized into three categories, namely nativist theory, environmental theory and functional theory. Chomsky and Krashen are the major representatives of the nativist theory, who believes that human beings are born with the ability to learn a language. Within the capacity of language, some abilities or rules are possessed by all mankind. Thus, what all mankind have in common in language learning is called "universal phenomenon" or "universal grammar (UG)."

Universal Grammar consists of a series of language qualification rules or parameters. Second language acquisition is based on the parameters of the existing language to acquire another language. Krashen's monitor theory of SLA research fields is the most comprehensive theory. The monitor theory holds that natural acquisition is a subconscious process, but language learning is a conscious process. Learners can use their own language control and regulation systems to adjust their language behaviors, and the first language, namely, the native language is one of the variable factors in language control and regulation system.

The environmental theory stresses the environmental factors such as personal experience, to the importance of language development, which tries to use the learner's external variables (environmental impact) to explain the process of language acquisition. Schumann (Schumann) cultural adaptation model is one of the most typical representatives. This model indicates that the second language acquisition is determined by the learner's mother tongue and its cultural differences. Acculturation level determines the level of language development. …

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