Multilingualism is defined as the ability of a person to speak in more than one language. To many people it is easier to learn a first language than a second language. This is because learning the second language involves learning new things or aspects about the language. Some of the reasons for it being hard could be because old learners may no longer possess the natural ability of acquiring languages like the young children.
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There lacks an agreed method of collecting data relating to L1 and L2 learning and this has made most of the data collected unreliable. Mostly, the data related to linguistic is collected informally and this has also contributed to making the data unreliable.
Natural capacity and social experience play a big role in language learning. Naturally, human beings have an innate capability to learn their first language right from birth. This explains why all children start learning their first language at the same age and in the same manner and beyond some age limit, then learning of this language can never be complete.
It is, therefore, clear that part of first language learning in children is genetic. The role of social experience in language acquisition is seen through the fact that children learn to communicate using language that is used by the people around them. Proper social experience and interaction is thus an important factor in language learning.
First and Second Language Learning can be compared using three distinct phases. The first phase involves fundamental knowledge concerning language structures and policies in the mind of the learner during first or second language acquisition.
The second phase entails all stages of language acquisition and development including maturational changes that occur during child grammatical development. The third and last phase is a product of first and second language learning.
During first or second language learning, language input is an essential factor. However, though first language learning in children takes place in the absence of facilitating conditions such as instructions, feedback, and aptitude. Second language learning requires these facilitating conditions for it to be successful.
The question on the possibility of children to attain the last state of first language development with ease and absolute success given the complicated nature of the language and their undeveloped cognitive ability at the learning age poses a logical problem in language acquisition. This problem according to linguists is associated with syntactic phenomena.
Various theoretical frameworks offer the bases for different approaches in learning of Second Language Acquisition (SLA). These include linguistic, psychological, and social frameworks. The Linguistic frameworks focus on the internal and external aspects of language. The internal sets focus on the goals of the study and looks at understanding linguistic proficiency instead of describing it as it was done in earlier structuralism.
The focus done on the external aspect in SLA stresses on language use, and this includes the functions of the language that are learnt in different stages. The Psychological frameworks focus on the languages and the brain. They also focus on the learning processes or the differences on an individual. The final framework is the social framework that focuses on the micro and macro factors that affect the learning process.
Some people are more successful in learning a second language than other people. This could be due to differences in emotional involvement, gender, and age. The above three frameworks complement one another, and there is a need to gain an understanding of the full spectrum of each framework.