Most people in the world speak more than two languages, and they do it fluently in both spoken and written forms. The ability to be multilingual offers many advantages and opportunities for people from different regions in the various countries. The process of learning another language apart from the national one is known as second language acquisition. I personally knew a young Korean boy named Erick, who went to the United States at a tender age of seven to live with his relatives. He moved to another country to reduce the burden that his parents carried since they had more children than they could support at once. Before his trip to the United States, the third-grade Erick spoke only his native language, Korean, and barely knew English as a language. With the difficulties in mastering English in the land where it was the national language spoken by everyone, he faced a hard time adjusting to the region and had to learn as well as improve his English. This paper aims to analyze the process of acquisition of a second language among people. Also, it intends to discuss how easier it is for children to acquire second languages as compared to the older people.
The English language is one of the most common phenomena that has a powerful impact all over the world and is learned as a second language. Erick’s story provides an insight into the acquisition of English, in particular, among the young people in the contemporary world. Researchers and theorists have internalized the process of acquiring the second languages depending on the language itself and the literacy level of the person willing to learn it. In fact, people can become bilingual either through learning the language at school or living in a certain environment where people widely use it. Erick’s story gives a representative outline of both variants as he mastered the second language by taking classes in school and at the same time communicating with the English-speaking children and other people from the same country and by living in the corresponding language environment, which boosted his ability to learn the language. To his advantage, Erick had a positive attitude towards English and took an interest in it. Consequently, this helped him in the learning process and he started yielding some results. However, there were various complications and difficulties involved in the process. Nevertheless, his perseverance as well as support at home and school never let him quit, so he proceeded to improve his second language. By the time Erick was in the seventh grade, his English was refined and his speech was fluent, which finally made him a bilingual student later on. According to research on applied linguistics and language acquisition, most of the time children and young people all over the world are in an attempt to learn the second languages as they potentially see themselves studying or working abroad. (Klein 87). Additionally, it is important to understand how it feels like to master the completely different language that people use daily at school or in the workplace. As a Korean myself, when I first started learning the English language, I found it interesting and, thus, had a strong urge to completely adjust to it and make it my second language. Despite the complications in the first experiences of getting used to various aspects of the language, I finally managed to understand it. Moreover, by the time I was a graduate in high school, English was not only my second language but also my passion.
For a person to be a competent bilingual, they should show the ability to use the language and fluently communicate through writing and speaking. In general, they should possess proficiency in the language defined as the capacity to make use of it efficiently and appropriately according to the communication requirements and regulations (Klein122). It relates to various living situations and communications among the community members. Language proficiency, therefore, has four different sections that a speaker should adhere to make their speech comprehensible. These processes include listening, reading writing, and speaking, which have to sound natural and similar to the utterance of a native speaker.
Erick managed to learn English as a result of his immigration from his native country into the United States of America. He acquired the language through classes and interaction with people in the region, and, therefore, he had all the basics necessary for a successful language acquisition. Also, since he spent his entire childhood in the same region from the time he moved to the United States, he was able to relate these basics learned in class to the language while using it every day. Linguists also give examples of the children born in multilingual families who are likely to master more than one language since the family members come from different cultural backgrounds (Klein 93). This becomes different from learning the language in a classroom since a child lives in a particular environment, which presupposes a constant connection with the language at two important levels: listening and speaking. However, this always takes time since some of the basics may be difficult to understand at once. Due to the acquisition of more than one language, such people tend to have advantages in many aspects of their lives. To illustrate, they can communicate with more people from different countries while adjusting to other cultures with ease. Also, multilingualism gives them more opportunities as it strengthens their relationship with other people that could provide help in various situations of their lives.
Erick’s acquisition of the second language enabled him to study and learn many other disciplines at his later age since teachers conduct most of the classes in English rather than any other language. I fully support the concept of SLA since it also enabled me to learn many subjects during my studying and gave me an access to the English literature. . Second language researchers mainly focus on the relationship between the minds of the learners and the language itself. In the course of their study, scholars can identify the specifics that the brain requires to achieve the adaptation of a second language. It is also important to analyze the relationship between the mind and the language to establish the effective process of language learning and communicate all the requirements, including the phonology, syntax, pragmatics, and the semantics of the specific language in the study. Furthermore, acquisition of the second languages heavily depends on the age bracket of learners and, obviously, the elder the person the more difficult it is to become a bilingual.
Acquisition of the second language is very important in the modern world as it enables people to communicate and relate with others all over the world. Specifically, the English language as explained by Erick’s story allows not only to interact with the representatives of other cultures but also develop and learn other disciplines in school as most of the them are in the English language. The study shows that people with more chances of acquiring the second language are the ones from a younger age bracket as their flexible mind enables them to closely relate to the language. Also, it is evident that people may be able to acquire the second languages without attending classes but living in the particular language environment as in the case with multilingual families.