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Thursday, January 22, 2015

First Language Acquisition


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According to Wikipedia, language acquisition is the process by which humans acquire the capacity to perceive and comprehend language, as well as to produce and use words and sentences to communicate. Language acquisition is one of the quintessential human traits because non-humans do not communicate by using language. The capacity to make use and comprehend language is also more complex than the researcher thought it would be, ever since being aware about technicalities such as syntax, phonetics, semantics and the like. Once the brain is capable, it automatically computes all these and either conveys or comprehends language without us giving it the measliest notice.

Needed for the success of the ongoing program we call K to 12 is the process we all went through called first language acquisition. Though we are currently focused on grades ten, eleven and twelve, first language acquisition should still be taken into account. This is because before we even start and enter the world of learning, each of us should be primarily equipped with one thing necessary for communication- language.

There are numerous languages in the world. In the Philippines, despite of Filipino being our national language, we also have quite a number of dialects like Pangasinense, Ilokano, Bisaya, Hiligaynon, Kapampangan and the like. Each of us was taught through different means, like flashcards, videos, even through things as simple as oral, and eventually, written imitation and repetition. Each of us also utilizes, refines and polishes our use of it in a different way. People learn language differently, and to prove this is the fact that the way we communicate with it is different from someone else’s. Things like the environment-a person’s home, his school, his peers, and so on-also influence this.

First language acquisition studies about infants’ acquisition of their native language. It is distinguished from second language acquisition, which focuses on developing auxiliary languages later.

There are many researches about how we develop our use of our first language. There are various theories, principles, and steps when it comes to our lingua franca. Theories include Imitation, Nativism or Behaviorism-which is based on the empiricist and behavioural approach, Innateness or Mentalism-based on the rationalistic or mentalist approach, and Cognition, based on the cognitive and psychological approach. Renowned language acquisition proponents are Leonard Bloomfield, Noam Chomsky, etc. According to a presentation that explains language acquisition, there’s also the developing theory called Connectionism, which has the view that language does not require a separate “module of the mind”. There is also a series of stages on how a person’s first language is developed.

It is assumed that one of the factors which improve the learning ability of students is if the lesson is taught in their mother tongue. Also believed is that oral communication is easier at earlier stages. As a result, the curriculum will concentrate on oral fluency starting Grade 1, and as time passes, it will let the mother tongue be the cornerstone for students to learn Filipino and English. This is because if the first language of a person does not differ so much from a desired second language, then learning the second language will generally be no hassle at all.

While the researcher is leaning towards opposition on the implementation of the new curriculum in the country, due to her assumption of the most probable decisions her fellow Filipinos might take because of present conditions, therefore reducing the number of professionals in the country which may lead to other drastic results, she finds the design of introducing learning to students through a friendlier manner- through the mother tongue - an ideal process.


Contributed by Hannah Krystelle Del Rosario

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3 comments:

  1. Oh, that's something I lack. Well, I think I know my first language pretty well, but learning foreign languages is extremely hard for me, and the fact that I need to learn Italian for my work makes everything worse.

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  3. I think the problem you're facing is not having the right method of learning a language. Did you know that it can be entertaining? I can recommend to you the best way to learn italian, you just need to watch movies or cartoons in the original language, and it'll help you understand the natives and improve your vocabulary.

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