# User:Leartjona/sandbox

                       Paper by


By Lulzime Kamberi, MA in ELT ,High Lector at SEEU SEEU

                                  Using L1 in L2 Acquisition


                                  Abstract


Language acquisition is very difficult to understand and different positions have been taken according to the role of the first language or mother tongue (L1) and the second/foreign language or the language to be acquired (L2). This paper argues that there are many benefits, especially for adult learners, of using L1 in L2 learning/teaching by focusing on the role of morphology/grammar, pragmatics, and reading/literacy.

                                      Introduction


Language acquisition is undoubtfully one of the major problems linguistics and linguists face with. There are many factors that influence SLA. First of all, it is L1 and then the family background, the place where the people are at the moment of acquiring the second language (input), and the way they are educated; the educational system. In addition, the kind of language the learner uses, (e.g. Indo-European languages, etc.), the kind of learner the student is (kinesthetic, visual, audio –lingual), and the kind of learning styles the learner has (cultural, individual). I believe that these are some important factors teachers have to take into consideration when teaching ,because these are characteristics that make the successful or unsuccessful learner. I want to add that the successful learner can take many things from the native language in learning the second one and I will try to list some of them. Even though there are many claims that L1 hinders the acquisition of L2 by creating an Interlanguage, ’Interlanguage Hypothesis’ , a hypothesis according to which language learners, by trying to learn another language posses or create a grammatical system which is different from the L1 and the L2 as well. (Nemser,1976:Richrds,1974:Selinker,1972). According to this, as stated in Gathercole (1998) “..many of the errors produced by children acquiring their first language ,leading to infer that the process of L2 learning are quite similar to those acquiring L1”.( p.63) Although Gathercole (1998) argue that there is much benefit from L1 in acquiring L2 ,or that learners make the same mistakes by trying to do so,I believe that there are many benefits from L1 , in L2 acquisition .I will try to show this by analyzing and using facts about this in the Grammatical/Morphological aspect, the development of Pragmatics, but also in reading and literacy in general.

I. Morphological /Grammatical aspect

      Similarities between first and second language acquisition


Learners, especially adult learners, which know the rules of their L1 grammar and morphology, can make use of those rules and parts of speech especially when learning a new language. A language learner when seeing a new word in a sentence may try to guess its meaning from the context, or another possibility could be to attempt to guess its meaning by decomposing it into smaller parts and arrive at its meaning through these smaller parts, morphemes and phonemes. A morpheme is the smallest meaningful unit in a language and cannot be divided without altering or changing its meaning. A good example for English is the word kind .If the last letter ‘d’ is removed the word changes its meaning and becomes kin. .On the other hand a phoneme is the smallest component of sound by which it can be distinguished. For example the word man and pan differ only in their initial sound. Additionally, learners may analyze and according to the context find out whether it it’s a noun, adjective or any other part of speech. In doing so, they may use the knowledge of word analyses gained in their L1.The strategy the learner will employ in this situation will depend on a range of interrelated factors. Besides the above mentioned, the study of grammar and morphology in L1, and the transfer into L1 acquisition can be of tremendous help in vocabulary acquisition seeing that many words are related by form and meaning, studying the nature of these relations may bring new light into the new factors that are important in L2 acquisition. Additionally many words in whatever language, are morphologically interrelated, for example the word teach is linked to inflectional forms like teaches, taught and teaching but also to the noun teacher. Just think of the fact that these words would be studied separately without any connection and stored separately. Furthermore, morphology can be helpful in facilitating the acquisition and use of words in general. Recent research into the acquisition and retention of newly gained foreign and second language vocabulary has shown that newly acquired words are better retained if they were inferred through linguistic clues rather than through context ( Haastrup, 1989). According to this, many of the derivational suffixed and prefixed groups are semantically transparent, which means their meaning can be inferred on the basis of their constituent morphemes ( Nagy and Anderson, 1984). This is confirmed by many studies like Freyd and Baron (1982), who indicate that learners who are good at analyzing words are the most successful language learners. As we can see, these are all important factors that can contribute to L2 acquisition.

           III. Reading /Literacy


     References


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Habermas, Jürgen (1979). Communication and the Evolution of Society. Toronto: Beacon Press.

Kasper, G. & Rose, K.( 2003). Pragmatic Development in Second Language. Malden: Blackwell Mikulecky, B. S.Jeffries,.L.(1996), More Reading Power. Longman .(p.2-3). Nagy,W.E.& Anderson,R.C. (1984). How many words are there in printed English? Reading Research Quarterly, 19, 304-330. Nemser,W.(1971).Approximate systems of foreign language learners. International Review of Applied Linguistics, 9, 115-123. Richards,C. J. & Schmidt, R.(2002) 3rd ed. Longman “Dictionary Of Language Teaching &Applied Linguistics” (2002, p.412) Richards, J.C. (1974). Social factors ,interlanguage and language learning .Error analysis : Perspektives on second language learning (p.64-69).London: Longman. Selinker,L.( 1972).Interlanguage. InternationalReview of Applied Linguistics. (p. 209-291) Wilkies, M.,Grove, E.,Davies, A. ( 1997) Literature Reviews : Review of Literature on Acquiring Literacy in a Second Language. Bilingual Interface Project. (p.1)

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