Names: Tania Contreras Novoa.
Katherine Jofre Novoa.
Teacher: Iris Roa.
Course: Learning and Acquisition of English as a Foreign Language.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
Cook, V. (2010). The relationship between first and second language learning revisited.In
Macaro, E, Continuum Companion to Second Language Acquisition. London: Continuum.