2. What Does L1 mean?
An L1 is your first language, your native
language, or your mother tongue.
Every developmentally healthy human
being has a first language. Often this is the
language that was learned during childhood—
before puberty—and is the language that is
most used and most comfortable for a given
3. A first language is generally
maintained for life, with little overt effort on
the part of the speaker. This is because
first languages are often woven into the
personal and sociocultural identities of the
native speaker, and he or she uses the
language to think and to interact with
family and other members of their cultural
or ethnic group.
4. How is L1 Learned?
L1s are learned through a process known
as first language acquisition, or FLA.
5. The most commonly agreed aspects of FLA
are as follows:
1. First Language Acquisition is the process of
gaining the capacity to use human language.
2. L1 is acquired automatically, without
3. L1s are learned before puberty, typically
6. 4. Native speakers have proficiency represented by
an “internalized knowledge” of several areas of
Appropriate use of idiomatic expressions
Correctness of language form
Cultural context including “response cries”, swear
words, and interjections
Nonverbal cultural features
7. What Does L2 mean?
An L2 is a second language, a foreign
language, a target language, or a foreign
If you have an L2, you are a non-native
speaker of that language.
Unlike L1s, not everyone has an L2. If you
have learned or are learning a new language,
that language is your L2.
8. How is L2 Learned?
L2 is learned through a process known
as second language acquisition, or SLA.
Like first language acquisition, second
language acquisition is a complex field of
9. Aspects of SLA
1. Second language acquisition is the process of
acquiring language capacity after another
language (or languages) has already been
2. Learning an L2 requires conscious effort.
3. L2 is not learned during infancy. and most
often after puberty.
10. 4. Though capacity in both L1s and L2s can
deteriorate from lack of use (through a process
called attrition), L2 capacity is considered to
decrease faster from misuse than their L1
11. Factors that Affect Second Language Acquisition
There are many general factors that
influence second language learning such as
age, aptitude, intelligence, cognitive style,
attitudes, motivation and personality (Ellis,
Motivation is one of the most important
factors in second language acquisition.
Richards (1985, p. 185) believes motivation is
a factor that determines a person’s desire to
do something. It is obvious that learners who
want to learn are likely to achieve more than
those who do not.
13. Types of Motivation
a) Integrative motivation: a learner studies a
language because he is interested in the people
and culture of the target language or in order to
communicate with people of another culture who
b) Instrumental motivation: a learner’s goals for
learning the second language are functional and
useful. For example, a learner needs the
language to get a better job, to pass tests, to
enable him to read foreign news paper, etc.
14. Motivation can be also distinguished into
intrinsic and extrinsic. “Intrinsically motivated
activities are ones for which there is no
apparent reward except the activity itself.
Intrinsically motivated behaviors are aimed at
bringing about certain internally rewarding
consequences, namely, feelings of
competence and self-determination” (Edward
Deci, 1975, as cited in Brown, 1994, p. 155).
15. Extrinsically motivated behaviors expect a
reward, for example money, a praise or
positive feedback. Maslow (1970) and other
researchers claim that intrinsic motivation
leads to greater success in learning a foreign
language, especially in a long run (Brown
Ellis (1985) clarifies that attitude is a set of
beliefs about the target language culture, their
own culture and, in case of classroom
learning, of their teachers, and the learning
task they are given. Language attitudes are
the attitude which speakers of different
languages have toward other’s languages or
to their own language. Expression of positive
or negative feelings toward a language may
reflect impression of linguistic difficulty or
simplicity, ease or difficulty of learning,
degrees of importance, etc. (Richards, 1985).
17. Stern (1983) classified attitude into three
1) attitude towards the community and people
who speak L2,
2) attitude towards learning and language
3) attitude towards languages and language
learning in general.
Age is one of the factors that influence
second language learning. It is generally
believed that children are better at language
acquisition than adults. However, only the
studies conducted in naturalistic learning
settings provide the evidence that supports
this assumption. Critical period hypothesis
by Lenneberg proposes that in child’s
development there is a period during which
language can be acquired more easily than
that at any other time.
19. According to him the critical period lasts
until puberty and is due to biological
development. He adds that language learning
may be more difficult after puberty because
the brain lacks the ability and adaptation
Ellis (1985) says that intelligence is a
general ability to master academic skills.
Intelligence is defined and measured in terms
of linguistic and logical mathematical abilities.
Success in life and learning should correlate
with high IQ tests scores. The studies on
intelligence show a strong relationship
between intelligence and acquisition of a
foreign language but only as far as academic
skills are concerned. Learners with high IQ
achieve better results on language tests.
21. Gardner (1983) introduced a theory of Multiple
Intelligences. He described eight types of
1. linguistic (sensitivity to spoken and
written language, the capacity to use the
language to accomplish certain goals);
2. logical-mathematical (ability to detect
patterns, reason deductively and think
22. 3. spatial (ability to recognize and use the
patterns of wide space and more confined
4. musical (capacity to recognize and create
musical pitches and rhythmic patterns);
5. bodily-kinesthetic (ability to use mental
abilities to coordinate bodily movements);
23. 6. interpersonal (capacity to understand
intentions, motivations and desires of other
7. intrapersonal (ability to understand oneself, to
develop a sense of self identity)
8. naturalistic (ability to understand the natural
Aptitude refers to the specific ability a
learner has for learning a second language
(Ellis, 1986). Richards (1985)explains that
aptitude is the natural ability to learn a
language. Further he adds that language
aptitude is thought to be a combination of
various abilities, such as the ability to identify
sound pattern in a new language, the ability to
recognize the different grammatical functions
of words in sentences, sentence patterns, and
25. Learning styles
Learning style is also called cognitive style.
It is the particular way in which a learner tries
to learn something. In L2 or foreign language
learning, different learner may prefer different
solution to learning problems. Some learners
may want explanations for grammatical rules
(audio learners), some may feel writing down
words and sentences help them to remember
(kinesthetic learners). And others may find
they remember things better if they are
associated with picture (visual learners)
Personality has been described as a set of
features that characterize an individual. Studies
which investigate personality traits are based on
the belief that learners bring to the classroom not
only their cognitive abilities but also affective
states which influence the way they acquire a
language. Some of them have been found as
benefits while the others as an obstacle in
learning a second language.
27. The most important personality
esteem, inhibition, risk-taking,
anxiety and empathy.
28. Self Esteem
Coopersmith (1967) mentioned that “By
self-esteem, we refer to the evaluation which
the individual makes and customarily
maintains with regard to himself; it expresses
an attitude of approval or disapproval, and
indicates the extent to which an individual
believes himself to be capable, significant,
successful and worthy.” People develop their
sense of self-esteem as a result of the
information they receive about themselves
29. Inhibition and Risk Taking
The higher the self-esteem the lower are the
walls of inhibition and the greater success in
learning a foreign language. It has been
suggested that inhibition influences language
learning in a negative way because it
discourages the risk-taking, which is an
essential element in this process. It is necessary
to make mistakes if a person wants to learn a
foreign language. This is mainly a problem of
adults who are more self-conscious than
Anxiety is another important aspect of
personality that affects learning a foreign
language. Brown (1994) describes anxiety as
a state of mind connected with “feelings of
uneasiness, frustration, self-doubt and worry.
31. Empathy and extroversion
The other aspect of personality that has
been studied is empathy – “the willingness and
capacity to identify with others” (Stern, 1993).
It is perceived as an important factor in
learning a foreign language but only as far as
communication skills are concerned as it
involves the participation in other people’s
feelings and ideas.
32. Still More on Factors...
Language acquisition and learning can be
influenced by internal and external factors.
33. Internal factors
Internal factors are those that the individual
language learner brings with him or her to the
particular learning situation.
Second language acquisition is influenced
by the age of the learner. Children, who
already have solid literacy skills in their own
language, seem to be in the best position to
acquire a new language efficiently. Motivated,
older learners can be very successful too, but
usually struggle to achieve native-speaker-
equivalent pronunciation and intonation.
Introverted or anxious learners usually
make slower progress, particularly in the
development of oral skills. They are less likely
to take advantage of opportunities to speak, or
to seek out such opportunities. More outgoing
students will not worry about the inevitability of
making mistakes. They will take risks, and thus
will give themselves much more practice.
36. Motivation (intrinsic):
Intrinsic motivation has been found to
correlate strongly with educational achievement.
Clearly, students who enjoy language learning
and take pride in their progress will do better than
those who don't.
Extrinsic motivation is also a significant factor.
ESL students, for example, who need to learn
English in order to take a place at an American
university or to communicate with a new English
boy/girlfriend are likely to make greater efforts and
thus greater progress.
Learners who have acquired general
knowledge and experience are in a stronger
position to develop a new language than those
who haven't. The student, for example, who
has already lived in 3 different countries and
been exposed to various languages and
cultures has a stronger base for learning a
further language than the student who hasn't
had such experiences.
In general, students with greater cognitive
abilities (intelligence) will make the faster
progress. Some linguists believe that there is a
specific, innate language learning ability that is
stronger in some students than in others.
39. Native language:
Students who are learning a second
language which is from the same language
family as their first language have, in general,
a much easier task than those who aren't. So,
for example, a Dutch child will learn English
more quickly than a Japanese child.
For ESL students in particular it is
important that the totality of their educational
experience is appropriate for their needs.
Language learning is less likely to place if
students are fully submersed into the
mainstream program without any extra
assistance or, conversely, not allowed to be
part of the mainstream until they have reached
a certain level of language proficiency.
Clearly, some language teachers are better
than others at providing appropriate and
effective learning experiences for the students
in their classrooms. These students will make
The same applies to mainstream teachers in
second language situations.
43. Motivation (extrinsic)
Students who are given continuing,
appropriate encouragement to learn by their
teachers and parents will generally fare better
than those who aren't.
44. Access to native speakers
The opportunity to interact with native
speakers both within and outside of the
classroom is a significant advantage. Native
speakers are linguistic models and can
provide appropriate feedback.
45. Culture and status
There is some evidence that students in
situations where their own culture has a lower
status than that of the culture in which they are
learning the language make slower progress.