Ewa Dabrowska ((Friedrich-Alexander-Universität and University of Birmingham) will give the next MPI Colloquium on Thursday September 19, 2019 at 15.45 pm.
The Fundamental Similarity of L1 and L2 Learning
It is often asserted that first language acquisition and
adult second language learning are “fundamentally different”. In contrast to L2
learning, first language acquisition is believed to rely almost entirely on
implicit learning. Children, it is often asserted, are unable to focus on form,
and because of this, explicit learning and aptitude (as measured by foreign
language aptitude tests such as the MLAT and PLAB) are irrelevant. There are
also important differences in motivation: adult learners typically have the
explicit goal of learning a new language, while children’s motivation is simply
to interact with others, and learning occurs as a by-product of engaging in
While acknowledging that there are important differences between first and second language learning, I argue that they tend to be overstated. I argue that language aptitude plays a significant role in both L1 and L2 language learning, that children are not only able, but also highly motivated to pay attention to form, and that in both populations, acquisition depends on cooperative interaction between implicit and explicit processes. Thus, the same cognitive mechanisms are involved in both types of learning, albeit not necessarily to the same extent.
Due to unforeseen circumstances, lectures can be cancelled at short notice. It is therefore advisable to confirm the date: +31 (0)24 3521911.
MPI Conference room 163
6525 XD Nijmegen