What in your view are the major differences between L1 acquisition and L2 learning?Language and linguistics

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epw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

L1 refers to a speaker's first language.  This language is acquired.  Imagine a baby you have seen grow up.  You can probably recall that child's first words and first sentences.  The child acquires his language from his surroundings.  He figures out how to say "mama" or "dada" because his parents repeat these words to him.  A young child does not need to study books and flash cards to begin speaking; it comes naturally to him simply from listening and adapting to his surroundings.  L2 refers to a speaker's second language.  Rather than acquiring a second language, the speaker must learn it.  For many students in America, second language learning begins in middle school when students begin to take conversational Spanish or French, or whatever language their school offers.  The major difference between acquiring L1 and learning L2 in my opinion falls in the methods of learning.  L1 comes naturally and easily simply from taking in one's surroundings.  L2 must be taught to the speaker, and studied in order to become fluent.  A speaker's first language will always act as a filter to learning a second language.  This adds to the difficulty of learning a second language.