Second Language Acquisition essay

Essay by anitariosUniversity, Bachelor'sB+, November 2008

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Faced with the reality that few students attain the native-like competence the following question arises what are the root causes of this problem?. Many researchers agree in that L2 learners are bad at L2 learning, in spite of the fact that they make an effort to improve their speech, by imitation, they still have a foreign accent, or they make mistakes when they apply the rules of grammar in their writings, because they are hard to them to understand; the causes of this failure is ascribed to different factors like the psychological, social and others . On the other hand, there are other researchers who say that there is a logical contradiction in the assertion that a good learner is the one who has become a native speaker, since, by definition the L2 learner is not a native speaker.

As a starting point for analyzing the problems related to the failure in the acquisition of a native-like competence level, we have to focus on the definition of who is a native speaker and what is the difference between non-native speaker and the native speaker, that is, as Coppieters and Bernstein agreed, the former repeats a restricted code and the latter repeats an elaborated code .

Despite the word "native speaker" is a criterion widely used to indicate the knowledge of a language, it is at the same time very confusing and elusive. Nevertheless, there are certain points that have been agreed on the definition of native speaker:

Everyone is a native speaker of his/her own unique code: this allows us to reject as illogical the notion of semilingualism (Martin-Jones & Romaine,1986).

Everyone accepts and adheres to the norms of a standard language, either an informal (standard) language, which might be a dialect, or a codified standard...