Child Language Acquisition versus Second Language Learning: Any Bearing on Teaching

Khawlah Rauof Khanekah


This paper investigates language acquisition both of children leaning their first language and of adults learning their second language. This is done by examining recent studies in this field led by a group of post Chomskyian  linguists and psycholinguists who have covered the process of language acquisition with great detail focusing on the four tendencies and developments within psycholinguistics that have bearings on language teaching.  These are: the creative aspect of language; the abstractness of linguistics representation; the universality of underlying structures and the role of intrinsic organization in cognitive process.

A review of the methods of teaching second languages (L2) in the past decades shows that psychological theories and cognitive studies popular at the perspective times had a great deal of influence on the choice of text books, classroom materials and other digital means. Therefore, the significance of studying the current theories on child language acquisition and cognitive developments and learning lies in the fact they can positively influence the selection of the methods of teaching English as a second language throughout our schools and universities. This paper observes the poor command of L2, English in this case, on the part of the undergraduate students starting their first year of study at universities and colleges, in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, bearing in mind that as of 2015 these students would have received 12 years of English, mainly studying a new series of English language textbook, ‘Sunrise’ (Arif, 2016). The ‘Sunrise’ program adopts a communicative approach in language teaching; however, the outcome is not satisfactory as reflected in the performance of the student completing twelve years of studying English through the Sunrise program.  The aim of this paper is to come up with recommendations that would lead to improved language skills for the graduates of preparatory schools.


Language, Acquisition, Teaching.

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