Questions tagged [second-lang-acquisition]

Questions with this tag are about the acquisition of one or more second languages. In other words any language other than the mother tongue or native language of a given speaker.

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13
votes
5answers
26k views

How many “words” do I need to learn?

I am interested in learning a second language. To do this I have created a list of the 1000 most common words and phrases for a given language. I've also established sentences which contains each of ...
12
votes
2answers
991 views

What research has been done on the effects of learning Esperanto on acquiring other languages?

I have recently started learning Esperanto because I thought it would be an interesting exercise to compare and contrast it with the natural languages I speak. Anyone who has done even light research ...
12
votes
1answer
398 views

Are there studies of difficulty to learn particular language depending on learner's native language?

Do you know if any studies were made to classify the difficulty to learn a particular language depending on learner's native language? There are a lot of discussions about what is the easiest or the ...
12
votes
1answer
286 views

What has the study of second language acquisition brought to foreign language teachers?

Learning a second language, either by immersing yourself into the culture that speaks it or by being formally taught by a fluent speaker, is an old practice in history. But the scientific study of ...
11
votes
3answers
5k views

Common problems in second language pronunciation

Transfer of some phonetic/phonological features from the first language to a second language is common in second language acquisition. For example, aspiration is not phonemic in English. Voiceless ...
9
votes
3answers
2k views

Do native speakers of language with lexical tone have difficulty learning another language with more or different lexical tones?

Have there been any studies done on say Mandarin native speakers who learn as adults other languages which have more lexical tones or which have lexical tones different to Mandarin? I believe for ...
9
votes
1answer
524 views

How come I cannot get my “oral” English to a native speaker level after 25 years of trying?

I was born in Russia and moved to the US at the adolescent and prepubescent age of 12. Before my relocation to the US I had never really been exposed to the English language at large, and after my ...
9
votes
2answers
1k views

Which makes more more effective vocabulary practice: L1 -> L2 or L2 -> L1?

Note: Please don't assume that because I'm asking about vocabulary, that my only method of language study is vocabulary memorization. I'm in the process of learning a couple of new languages, and am ...
9
votes
2answers
250 views

L2 acquisition as a factor in loss of “complex” grammatical features

Recently I came across a short text on Language Log briefly discussing a phenomenon which seems to affect certain languages. The author noticed that loss or heavy weakening of inflection during ...
8
votes
6answers
19k views

Is learning German easier for people who know Sanskrit, and vice versa?

I've heard many times that learning German is easier for those who speak Sanskrit, and vice versa. Is there any linguistic basis for this? What similarities exist between the two languages that may be ...
8
votes
2answers
4k views

What are some of the disadvantages of learning a language through book-study as opposed to immersion?

I have been told that the best way to learn a new language is through immersion, i.e. placing oneself in an environment in which only the target language is spoken and making constant use of the ...
8
votes
2answers
435 views

How do children learn to speak compared to adults?

Why is it hard to learn a second language as an adult while the children may learn to speak more than one language more easily than adults do? If true, how can the language learning process be made ...
7
votes
2answers
3k views

What are the differences between the French and English [i] and how does it affect the perception?

I'm rephrasing my question after (very helpful) comments to my initial version: What are the differences between the [i] produced by French speakers (in French) and English speakers (in English)? ...
6
votes
2answers
193 views

I don't know what my L1 is and want to find out

I've been doing personal research in Second Language Acquisition by reading a book on the subject (Understanding Second Language Acquisition -- by Lourdes Ortega) and I've become convinced that the L1 ...
6
votes
2answers
6k views

Are there marked/“hard” phonemes that are acquired very late or never by a substantial number of speakers?

Marked phonemes are those that require more effort during articulation or are "harder" to articulate. For example, the interdental fricatives /θ/ and /ð/ are considered to be marked. Marked phonemes ...
6
votes
1answer
3k views

How many words do we hear in a day?

With regard to the English language, how many words is the average person likely to hear (not read) on an average day. By "how many words" I don't mean how many unique words. In other words if I hear ...
5
votes
1answer
115 views

Do people “babble” while learning an L2?

I'm currently learning Japanese (みんなさん、こんにちは!), and I've began noticing myself doing the oddest thing while listening to Japanese. I sometimes find myself uttering back sounds I hear; even when I don'...
5
votes
1answer
344 views

Ranking sentences

I have a list of 15000 sentences for a new language I wish to learn. I also have the English translation of each of these sentences. Additionally, I have a 30 million word corpus for the new language. ...
4
votes
4answers
624 views

What sub-field in linguistics should I study to help me learn foreign languages? [closed]

I'm interested in languages and linguistics, can speak a few languages (English, French, Mandarin, some German, Japanese, and Esperanto) and would like to eventually learn more (Japanese, Spanish, ...
4
votes
1answer
157 views

What method of teaching foreign languages is more effective?

In wikipedia i found a list of methods of teaching foreign languages - language pedagogy. But it's seems that we not have a well recognized method or methods, or more effective then others, or at ...
4
votes
1answer
137 views

Ease of L2 acquisition of SOV and SVO/VSO word order

Is it easier for speakers of SOV languages to learn SOV/VSO syntax or vice versa? I've been reading about constructed languages recently, specifically the ones intended to be easy to learn such as ...
4
votes
1answer
125 views

How can you learn to read older dialects of your first language(s)?

Abbreviate ED as earlier dialects of your modern first language(s). I desire to read writing written in only ED (eg: philosophy written in English or French dated from 1400) and NOT in languages ...
4
votes
2answers
382 views

What language do children think in?

If a child born in Canada is spoken to strictly in another foreign tongue other than english (ie. Italian), it is inevitable that this child will also think in Italian. When this child starts going ...
4
votes
1answer
121 views

Is English grammar teaching tradition rooted in Latin?

I heard once that the way English grammar was taught as school was rooted in Latin and it wasn't a correct approach for a number of reason ? This was a long time ago, so I cannot remember the details. ...
4
votes
1answer
132 views

Linguistic overview/critique of the Tomatis method

Some advertisements for language training material (like this and this) have a dubious claim that each language has its own frequency range of sounds, or a "pass band", so that listening to ...
4
votes
1answer
135 views

What are the benefits of learning Latin using Spanish?

I am a native speaker of Spanish. I also learned English. I am now trying to learn Latin. Obviously, the Spanish --> Latin route is a lot more preferable than the English --> Latin route given that ...
4
votes
1answer
229 views

Mastering a foreign language without staying in a country to which the language is native [closed]

I am not a native English speaker. What I would like to understand is - if a non native speaker who’s got a fairly decent command on the language (in this case say English) speaks to his or her kid in ...
4
votes
0answers
83 views

Second and third language “search”

In my third or fourth language, when I don't know a word or phrase, I substitute a word from my other non-native language rather than the one I obviously know in my native language. Or if I'm looking ...
4
votes
0answers
183 views

L1 memories being recalled in my L2

The situation is as follows: I have been studying my L2 for approximately 4 years. I have spent a total of 10 months immersed in the L2 environment. My current stint has been for 5 months and counting....
3
votes
2answers
437 views

Am I a native English speaker? (born I Hungary, lived in US from age 3)

I'm not sure if I'm going to get any answers, but I am trying to find out whether I can qualify as a native english speaker. Here's my story: born in Hungary moved to US at age 3 spoke Hungarian ...
3
votes
1answer
280 views

Is it possible to talk about two different phonemes if they always have the same manifestations?

Both considering L1 speakers and L2 speakers. It becomes a bit tricky involving L2 speakers. While a phoneme is defined as one of the units of sound that distinguishes one word from another in a ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

Opposite of “intensifier”?

I really like apples. I don't really like apples. In sentences #1, 'really' acts as an intensifier. Using "teacher talk", I would say that 'really' softens the sentence, but I can't think of a ...
3
votes
2answers
571 views

Teaching children Spanish and Esperanto at home from non-native speakers

A question has already been asked on teaching a child a foreign language if you aren't a native speaker, but the answers are mixed - the 'right' answer says languages can be taught by a non-native ...
3
votes
1answer
95 views

Sign languages of non-mute people

Does anyone study the sign language of people that can actually speak/pronounce/utter words? What would you call such study and what would you call such subject? I mean, if a person can use both ...
3
votes
4answers
381 views

Way to learn foreign languages

It's my first post here. I was planning for a long time to learn another foreign language. Polish is my mother tongue and I also speak english. Not on a professional level of course but I'm pretty ...
3
votes
1answer
392 views

To what extent do children adapt to a language which is not their mother-tongue?

In following when talking about 'native speaker' I refer to what is considered as 'mother tongue' rather than reaching a level of fluency. For the purpose of this question think of an average person ...
3
votes
2answers
189 views

Educating people in their mother tongue

Not all nations provide education in the national tongue. In India, being educated in English is generally preferred. I am looking for any study with details about the situations in different ...
3
votes
0answers
79 views

Analysing the notion of the native speaker

I am interested in the notions of the native, native-like, near native... speakers in linguistics. I have encountered several non-equivalent definitions/characterizations of these concepts. Right now, ...
3
votes
0answers
158 views

Learning two closely related languages [closed]

This is a follow-up, and hopefully an improvement, to my question on German and Yiddish that was migrated to German from Linguistics: https://german.stackexchange.com/questions/18895/learning-german-...
3
votes
0answers
431 views

Two tasks in one experiment design (self-paced-reading & grammaticality judgment)

For experiment design experts, I want to know if it's possible to design an experiment on PsychoPy or Open Sesame in which the subject does a self paced reading (with measuring the reading times for ...
2
votes
5answers
3k views

Why might English be considered easy to learn and why might it be considered difficult?

I have heard claims of English being both very easy and very difficult to learn for L2 learners (in adulthood). Is it that the English writing system is difficult to learn while the language itself ...
2
votes
2answers
341 views

Beginner to Dutch language: should I translate Dutch to English or to German?

I am a fluent English speaker (lvl C2) and a decent German speaker (lvl B2 and fully prepared for C1). I recently started following a Dutch course for beginners. My fear is that I will eventually ...
2
votes
1answer
126 views

Are markedness and the Sonority Sequencing Principle both language universals?

I'm looking into transfer in second language acquisition, specifically on the syllable structure of other L1s transferring onto English. I'm discussing the impact of transfer as well as the impact of ...
2
votes
1answer
163 views

How to read and understand linguistics articles?

I was wondering if there is a good way to read and understand Quantitative linguistics articles that has graphs in it? For example, For a class, I am currently reading: "Recognition of spoken ...
2
votes
2answers
200 views

Is it possible to speak like a native speaker of English by mastering the phonology?

I know some professors of phonetics teach phonetics(in a country like India) in a laboratory almost similar to that of the native speakers.But when they come out of the class their pronunciation does ...
2
votes
1answer
924 views

How “fluent” do professional classicists get in reading Latin and Greek? How do they do it?

I've learned to an intermediate reading level Latin, Greek, Sanskrit and Classical Arabic. As a foreign language teacher, I'm well aware of current SLA research and the focus on communication and ...
2
votes
2answers
212 views

What stats are available to estimate the possibly coming “World language”?

My definition of the "World language" is the language most people can understand and use as an international language—not necessarily the language most spoken. Background: A hater of English argued ...
2
votes
2answers
115 views

Besides lexicon and phonology, what are the biggest differences in Mandarin that are hard for Westerners to learn?

I'm dabbling in Chinese lately and of course most of the vocabulary is new and the phonology is difficult, including tones, tone sandhi, unstressed syllables, and even some aspects of the vowels and ...
2
votes
1answer
338 views

How can I improve my writing fluency in English? [closed]

So this is a problem I've been struggling with for quite some time now. English is a second language for me despite the fact that I've spend a lot of my childhood years in Australia (grades 1 through ...
2
votes
1answer
200 views

English speakers inserting R in French words

I teach French to people from various background and first languages, but one thing that most English speakers do (even very proficient ones sometimes) is adding R sounds in words. Saying 'droi' for &...