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Second Language Acquisition

In order for a more clear understanding of language acquisition, it is necessary for one to be familiar with a few key terms.

Primary Language--A primary language refers to the first language that a child learns. It is often referred to as the "native language" or "mother tongue." It does not, however, necessarily have to be the language of the child's parents or ethnic group.

First Language--abbreviated L1. The first language is considered to be the language in which a person displays competency when beginning to learn a new language. A person's L1 is not necessarily his or her native language because sometimes certain situations, such as imigration, require another language to become an individual's L1 in adulthood.

Secondary Language--This term is used to refer to any language that a person learns after a primary language has already been established.

Second Language--abbreviated L2. A second language refers to a language that is in process of being learned or has been learned adequately. An L2 is often used as means of communication

Foreign Language--abbreviated FL. A foreign language is not a native language to the learner. It is generally taught in school and is not used as a regular means of communication.

Foreign Language Teaching--abbreviated FLT. Foreign language teaching is the act of teaching a language. It used to be considered a method in which the teacher played the active role and the learner played the passive role.

Foreign Language Learning--abbreviated FLL. Foreign language learning is the act of learning a language. Today the learner plays the active role and the teacher plays the passive role so as to provide a more natural process of learning.

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Last updated: 28 May 01