SLA Essay Question Linguistics Assignment
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SLA Essay Question Linguistics Assignment


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Innatist approaches suggests that there are biological constraints to second language acquisition. That is, there is a sharp drop in language learning ability after a certain point, a period considered as critical to success of second language acquisition. Emergentist approaches, however, suggest that there are no such constraints on second language acquisition. What is your position on this debate?  

In the field of SLA, ultimate attainment refers to the end point or outcome of second language acquisition that is often used interchangeably with terms such as final state, end state or asymptote. It is suggested that the native speaker is the target for which ultimate attainment can be measured. To what extent do you agree with this statement?

Cognitive abilities are the key factor driving the development of first language acquisition whereas social or individual factors are the key factor determining the success of second language acquisition. To what extent do you agree with this statement?



The need to express is one of the primal instincts in an individual. It is also a primary precursor of the language acquisition and development for a human being. From the first syllable to the complex lexical structure, the journey of language acquisition is based on varied innate and external needs to establish self in the society for a being. While, it is safe to say that the human instinct and the initial cognition defines the learning paradigm of first language acquisition for a learner (Hulya, 2009). The learning setting for the second language acquisition is not so naturalistic. This research counters that while home environment scaffolds the development of first language acquisition for a child, learning a new language is often a conscious effort, and is based on the age of the learner, exposure to the language and situation of the learner (Jisa, 2009). Through this paper it is argued that while cognitive abilities drive the development of first language acquisition in a being, the social as well as individual factors defines the second language acquisition for an individual.


Acquisition and learning of language 

Cognitive influences

Brain' plasticity in the initial years of life has long since been recognized as an important consideration for language acquisition (Castello, 2015). Varied aspects of language acquisition such as speech pattern acquisition, attaining prosodic markers of speech boundaries are learned by the first language learner, while gaining familiarity with their environment. In this sense, the process of learning and language in a child is inter-related (Jisa, 2009). The cognitive ability of an individual is the competency to comprehend and memorize new information, and solve problems. Through assessing the trajectory of language acquisition of a child, one can clearly see that through developing their expressive skill, and familiarizing with the environment, a child often acquires new vocabulary and grow their language (Rose et al. 2009). During early childhood, a child learns to express themselves through the language, even as they are not familiar with the grammar and other language complexities. At the initial stage representational competence, and the ability to process new information thus defines the language competency of a child, even as the academic knowledge at later stages refines this learning (Newman et al. 2012; Rose et al. 2009) 

 Meanwhile, a second language learner has a cognitive advantage over the others, since they electively chose to gain the cognition functions of a language. Often researchers contemplate that the bilingual children are more likely to face challenge in grasping knowledge, as they can become confused in deciphering information (Newman et al. 2012). However, it is noted that often the child with higher metalinguistic awareness has higher or at least comparable cognitive ability as their monolingual counterparts (Bialystok, 2017). Meanwhile, studies also reflect that a bilingual individual is often provided with a cognitive control which helps them in problem solving in later years of life (Bialystok, 2017). Yet, these findings are inconclusive in the case of adult second language learners.

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