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  • 1. Reaction Paper Assignment Names: Tania Contreras Novoa. Katherine Jofre Novoa. Teacher: Iris Roa. Course: Learning and Acquisition of English as a Foreign Language.
  • 2. Summary The following reaction paper will present the ideas of the author Cook (2010), on the topic of first and second language acquisition. In respect of this subject, the relationship between first and second language is crucial, due to it defines the primary nature of second language acquisition. Consequently, SLA research appeared because of the investigation at acquisition stages and at research techniques. In terms of acquisition stages, Cook (2010) illustrates that acquisition means ‘’ how the mind acquires language independent of intervening stages’’. For that reason, L2 students acquire a new language in a similar way as L1 learners. Moreover, several authors such as Tomasello, Halliday and Chomsky establish some theories about language acquisition. These theories propose that to learn a first language is necessary the interaction with other speaker. On the other hand, some of the differences between first language and L2 acquisition cannot be avoided, particular inside or outside a classroom. Due to the fact that the L2 acquisition is different from the L1 acquisition, and that the L2 learners have another language in their minds. (Cook, 2010) Besides, over time the belief that the L1 has to be used more than the L2 in the classroom has changed and the use of target language is a clear sign of a trustworthy language course. Otherwise, the L2 cannot be learnt in the same way as L1, because L2 students are generally older than L1 learners, and there are two groups of L2. From one side, the “natural” ones and from the other side the “artificial” ones. (Cook, 2010) Lastly, SLA researches are in charge of explaining why L1 is successful and L2 is not and they found many reasons for the lack of success. Such as, maturation and environmental issues.
  • 3. Evaluation In relation to the author’s point of view, the text is really well done, because the main idea is developed with sufficient evidence that support and explains in detail the arguments in the entire chapter. Regarding this subject, we strongly believe that Cook (2010) has asserted with her theory concerning the essential difference between first and second language acquisition. We consider that the fact that L1 learners’ mastery perfectly the language is really important, because the individual variations do not have any influence on it. In contrast, success in L2 learners depend on many individual variations, which are crucially important when someone is learning an L2. Initially, this assumption indicates that the principal problem is the success of the mother tongue, versus the failure of second language acquisition. For that reason, normal children inevitably achieve perfect mastery of the language, while adult foreign language learners do not. (Cook, 2010) At the same time, as far as we are concerned, students whose acquire a second language in the classroom may be exposed to teaching methods; hence, they are learning by teachers and not by native speakers. Consequently, adults tend to learn easier in formal classroom, since they need instruction from their teachers and they are less advantageous for natural acquisition. According to Cook (2010) L2 learners return to earlier stages of development, as a result of fossilization. This author affirms this hypothesis according to the degree of differences between first and second language acquisition, because the majority of all students of English are beginners, due to the fact of that most of the foreign learners give up before they pass the course. There is a fact that called our attention, Cook (2010) affirms that the knowledge of and L2 learner would never be the same as the monolingual speaker of the language. This is a really important fact for us as L2 learners, because we have to be conscious of this; hence, we are completely agreed with the idea that many teachers should use the spoken language first, for the reason that argued people learn a language by hearing them first.
  • 4. Unfortunately the differences between L1 and L2 are certainly relating to the language. (Cook, 2010) In our opinion, we as students of a second language should try to make an effort in order to dismiss these differences, when we are acquiring a new language our willingness plays an important role, because the achieving of an L2 depend just on us. With all of these things in mind, we fairly recommend to the parents that they do not prevent their children of learning a second language, because as younger they are, the easiest they learn. A second language is very useful in many aspects of our lives, for this reason is very important that the parents are conscious that they can help their children to learn new languages just by exposing them little by little, day by day.
  • 5. References Cook, V. (2010). The relationship between first and second language learning revisited.In Macaro, E, Continuum Companion to Second Language Acquisition. London: Continuum.