20 May 2022


Second Language Acquisition Theories/Hypotheses/Approaches

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Academic level: High School

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Interactions on the matter of the acquisition of second languages has quite something to do with a few different values. According to Krashen’s theory on the second language acquisition, some comprehensible inputs determine the SLA. These inputs are one dimensional, respectful to the second language, and must be at the level that’s just above the current learner’s linguistic competence. The theory maintains that the acquisition of a second language occurs unconsciously in the same way as the acquisition of a first language. Krashen’s theory implies that language acquisition is predicated on the concept of understanding the messages received by the learners. Language inputs have to be comprehensible. This is made possible courtesy of various strategies namely; simplification of linguistics and the use of pictures, graphic organizers, visuals, and many other current SLA strategies. Going through the assigned readings and discussions on the unit on early theories of Second Language Acquisition, I have learned many lessons, some of which are compelling and some which are not.

I find it surprising that SLA requires only one-way comprehension; and that the others take an interaction’s position in the acknowledgment of the role that’s played by two-way communication with regards to the acquisition of a second language. Some SLA theories assert that SLA is facilitated by conversational interactions under given conditions. According to studies, as a learner is given the opportunity to engage him or herself in meaningful activities, s/he usually is compelled to negotiate for the meaning of the said activity. This gives the learner an opportunity to clarify and express his or her thoughts, intentions, and opinions in a way that enables him to arrive at a mutual understanding with others. This is mostly illustrated where the learner works with others to achieve set objectives. In the learning process, the learners experience challenges in comprehending a message (Einstein, 2012). The modifications of SLA may be conversational involving clarification, confirmation checks, and repetition, or may involve linguistic simplifications which are used to gain an understanding. Some SLA approaches suggest that the negotiation of a meaning involves the increase in the input comprehensibility that makes the learners focus on the features of salient linguistic. SLA benefits from the cognizance of the structures and forms of the second language. 

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The most compelling theories to me are those that apply the approaches of human mental processing to explain the interaction roles in SLA. This is because the theories hypothesize that the learners of the second language acquire proficiency through interaction with speakers who are more eloquent in the language. The learners are believed to get more support from scaffolding structures such as repetition, linguistic simplifications, and modeling done by advanced speakers in the language. This enables the learners to work within the boundaries of proximal advancements.

The least compelling theories to me are the theories that consider outputs rather than inputs as primary in SLA. This is because such theories assert that outputs are more critical than inputs in the SLA and serves four major functions; creating awareness, enhancing efficiency, obtaining feedback about the use of the language, and providing chances of experimenting with the language. These functions are inarguably true for outputs but do not surpass the critical roles that inputs play in the SLA. The outputs help the learners to convey meanings. However, comprehensive outputs pose linguistic challenges to the learners.

The theories of second language acquisition apply comprehensive inputs and outputs in the process of learning. The inputs are primary while the outputs are secondary in learning the second language. The second language is often acquired unconsciously, just like the first language. The SLA process is effective when the learners interact to enable negotiation of meanings and to facilitate comprehensive outputs to result from comprehensive inputs. 


Einstein, A. (2012). Theoritical Perspectives: Past and and Present. Print.

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StudyBounty. (2023, September 15). Second Language Acquisition Theories/Hypotheses/Approaches.


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