Linguistic / education case study

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Outline of the case analysis

At the age of two years, Josefina migrated with her parents from Philippines to settle in Australia. Their ancestral home is a town outside Manila in which the majority of people spoke Tagalog. Regardless of that, the official languages which are used in Philippines are English and Filipino. Because of that, she managed to get exposed to English particularly through television. After arriving here and settling in the western suburbs of Sydney, her parents continued to communicate in Tagalog because the majority of their neighbours are from the Tagalog-speaking community. The report below relates to current linguistic challenges, opportunities, as well as examines the general impact of the number of factors which hinders or influences her progressive acquisition of English.

Linguistic: similarities and differences between L1 and L2

With respect to the case study, the fact is that it is quite easy to evaluate the differences which exist between the general acquisition of both the first and the second language. For instance, the acquisition of the first language by Josefina entails acquiring the words of the English language. For the case of the second language, it evident that Josefina has the potential of bringing word knowledge to the task in learning newer ways of talking about the world she is living in (Romero, 2012). In connection to that, as a second language learner, Josefina must receive hours of the naturalistic exposure to the language from the parents or caregivers who basically scaffold their ultimate development. As stated above, after arriving here and settling in the western suburbs of Sydney, her parents continued to communicate in Tagalog because the majority of their neighbours are from the Tagalog-speaking community. This means that being glued and used Tagalog in her neighbourhood will have the capacity of developing or becoming competent in using English as the second language even in school (Lengyel, 2007).

Additionally, the general exposure to the targeted language as the second learners will greatly vary both in terms of quality and quantity. The reason for that is because depending she comes from a family which is bilingual (Tomlinson, 2007).  This is to say that naturally as child, she is inclined to becoming native speaker of the language which is spoken around her, particularly Tagalog. The reason for that is because the majority of their neighbours are from the Tagalog-speaking community. Therefore, this explains that the end result of the second language L2 learning will largely depend on the several factors for instance L1 and L2, input, age, individual differences in memory, motivation, distance or proximity, in personality, and so on (Jürgen, 2011). In connection to that, despite the fact the she has managed to acquire some level competence in English (the second language), the truth is that she faces other challenges in the foreign country. For instance, it is explained that her aunt allows them to watch television all the time. This is an opportunity of mastering her English competency (Tomlinson, 2007). Contrary to that, being that her aunt at times uses Tagalog to teach them, it to some extent hinders her ability to learn more about English language. These challenges are associated with things likes pragmatics, pronunciation, and grammar. Moreover, although there is extensive similarities between the first and the second language the fact is that the variations in her situation as well as other factors are the ones which produce widespread differences in her level of competency the second language L2. One of the difficulties encountered is filtering of the differences which are ultimately accidental rather than being inevitable (Jiménez, 2013). From the researches which had already been conducted, it has been proved that first language children mostly end up acquiring language in different settings as a result of exposure to that language as compared to the second language learners. This makes them to be at different stages of both social and mental maturity. This then means that for her situation, it might be inevitably difficulty to balance or maintain the level of competency for both languages, either at home or when in school (Akbarov, 2016).

The truth is that in most cases L1 and L2 encounters same problem. This entails the means of mapping words as well as their functions in order to produce some meaningful utterances based on their experiences on both languages. Moreover, for the case of the second language learners, they are perceived as being more diverse depending on the learning situation and the individual learner (Jürgen, 2011). The recent accounts regarding language emphasizes that, as a learner, Josefina end up building competency in the second language depending on the usage events especially in a certain context. The reason for that is because it can be assumed that as a learner of the second language, she will bring inborn theoretical grammatical knowledge to the task entailing language learning. Contrary to that, from the perspective of usage-based approach, it is clear that theoretical grammatical representation emerges only after considerable practice or expose to the language occurs (Akbarov, 2016). Likewise, the alteration in the abstract perspective from posting that theoretical grammatical knowledge remains to be inborn to her as compared to the posting that the theoretical grammatical knowledge which will emerge from her continued usage of first language in her neighbourhood. This is what will enrich the normal interaction which occurs in her i.e. between the first language L1 and the second language L2 learning (Romero, 2012).

On the other hand, the quantity of vocabulary that Josefina could have managed to grasp is the one which ultimately predicts her language proficiency in the acquisition of the second language L2. Thus, a clear correlation can be established between the lexical development and language exposure in bilingual children. In other words, the size of the input she will have will differ the same way its quality does (Lengyel, 2007). It should be noted, therefore, that the child-directed speech (CDS) is perceived as being highly repetitive as well as extensively filled with other forms child-centred comments and questions. To Josefina, child-directed speech as compared to adult-directed speech will be perceived as being more grammatical, syntactically simpler, more fluent, limited in vocabulary, finetuned as well as being geared to the particular interest she has towards learning English.

Despite of the fact that variability is observable across cultures and languages for first language learners, the fact is that this variability cannot be regarded as being a crucial factor which will hinder her English developmental level (Jiménez, 2013). The reason for that is because as much as her learning setting is extremely diverse, the truth is that she has the potential of improving it. This is evident from the fact that she is exposed to some students who have managed to develop fluency in spoken English. This explains that all that depends on whether that child is immersed into the target language environment, in a classroom, alone with television or a computer.

Psychological factors

At the age of three and half, it means that her proficiency in communicating with others is perceived as being the fundamental ability which is central to her courage and self esteem. Facing that stripping away of language competencies which normally evolves when she tries to communicate in the L2 will mainly require remarkable ego strength (Zoltan, 2009). This is Josefina’s capability of retaining a sense of self esteem in any situation entailing being exposed or exploring her area of weakness as she grows up. As result of that, bolstering the sense of self esteem of as a child remains to be ultimate means of working with other learners of the second language L2 (Lightbown & Nina, 2013). For this reason, it means that the validation of the cultural experience of the Josefina is what remains to be the ultimate tool for actively involving or associating with other new speakers of English in their learning environment. This is to say that the second language minority students ought to be valued within their learning environment hence encouraging their development in return (Lightbown & Nina, 2013). This means that the need of maintaining this attitude will remain in position to the conventional ‘English-only’ approaches which are depended in working effectively with other international students as well with other non-native speakers of the second language in their classroom (Christian, 2009).

According to Zoltan, (2009), in most cases, a child is perceived as being the fastest learners of any language in all areas except pronunciation. The possible reason for that is that a child usually depends on their learning capabilities for abstract logical reasoning (Lightbown & Nina, 2013). Therefore, Josefina’s main objective here is to realize an analytical or a better understanding of the language being studied or the word usage of the second language; English.

Social factors

Josefina is extensively identified with other children who are comes from Tagalog-speaking community. This is as a result of coming from a bilingual family. Basically, bilingualism is the ability of a person to express him or herself using two languages. Thus building and maintaining friendship with children from her neighbourhood as well as in school is what enhances the development of both languages (Saville, 2012). This is to say that the social factor which enhances learning of the second language is dependent on the relationship which exists between L2 proficiency or competency and social context. It should, therefore, be noted that the social context has the potential of influencing the proficiency she will have in the second language either directly or indirectly. This is also arbitrated by several variables. For example, her attitude towards the second language as well as the learning opportunities which she will obtain is will in return determined by her social-economic classes.  These are some of the important variables which will influences language proficiency in her. On the contrary, the relationship which exists between the learner’s choice of the targeted language and the social factors is mainly characterized by various social contexts. It is through this variable in which the acquisition of the second language takes place as well as the general impact they have to the context of individual learning environment (Saville, 2012).

Specific social factors, sociolinguistic setting, and situational factors are the main social structures that have the potential of affecting the acquisition and proficiency of the child in the process of using the second language L2. Sociolinguistic setting is basically the role played by the second language in the society.  Conversely, specific social factors are those factors which ultimately affect the acquisition of the second language L2. They include social class, gender, ethnic identity, and age. Situational factors are those factors which keep on varying between individual social interactions (Saville, 2012).

Conclusion: implications for language teaching and learning

To sum up, it is evident from the above study that the language of a child is the system in its own right and not a small fragment of the adult’s system of language development. The learning of the first language L1 comprises of many sides which then indicates that it is not all about learning syntax and mastering vocabulary (Jim, 2008). The general usage or dependency of the first language matches with the needs and interest of the child as in the case of Josefina. This is to say that language development, particularly the second language, depends on the relationship which exists between language development and cognition (Brown, 2006).

On the other hand, the use and learning of the second language by Josefina is partially determined by her the mental capacity. The reason for that is because there are certain stages of language development via which a child progress even though the rate of progression might be varying (Brown, 2006). This is to say that Josefina will learn the means of adapting to the usage of the second language depending on a particular situation she was to find herself in. Regardless of that, both the first language L1 and the second language L2 learners will end up building language based on her word utterances in certain context (Jim, 2008). The usage of either the first language or the second language is in the context of usage. The usage-based approaches regarding language development provides an inspiring hope which inspires more and more collaboration between the acquisition of the first language and the second language.

The comparison regarding the lexical acquisition of the first language and the second language learners clearly shows how learning of any language is different or same in the both situations. First language learners are always obliged to explore and discover their words and at the same discover how to communicate using them (Brown, 2006). In respect to that, therefore, it is equally important for Josefina to associate with adult because they already have a cognitive advantage in matters relating to language usage and grammar as well as being informed on how L1 assist the child in mapping out the words.