Second Language Acquisition
Second Language Acquisition
Debates continue on whether age is a determinant factor on how people acquire second language, and the most suitable way to prove this is to perform a research using all the necessary approaches. Concerns also emerge on whether children are in a better position to acquire second language than adults, and whether the brain plays any functions in facilitating or dictating these processes. Therefore, conducting a research using the explanatory research design method while gathering data through systematic literature review present a suitable opportunity to gather relevant data that that is likely to respond to the research questions. The research will utilize descriptive data analysis to analyze data and make inferences based on collected data. Adhering to all components of a research process increases the likelihood of learning whether age determines how a person acquires second language and whether adults may have problems acquiring another language as opposed to children.
Second language acquisition (SLA) also known as second language learning, is the process through which people learn or acquire a second language. Second language acquisition also refers to the process committed to understanding how people acquire a second language (Hosain, 2015). The area of second language acquisition is an area of applied linguistics but also gets research attention from different other fields, such as education and psychology (Hosain, 2015). A key aspect research studying SLA is that of interlanguage, which is the notion that the language or languages that learners utilize is not merely the outcome of variations between the languages that they are already conversant with and the languages they are learning, but an entirely complete language that has its rules and regulations. The interlanguage slowly grows as learned are introduced and interact with the targeted language. The manner in which learners develop features of their new language remains considerably unchanged, even for learners with other native languages and not considering whether they have acquired instruction on the language (Hosain, 2015). Nevertheless, languages that a learner already knows can have substantial impact on the process of learning a new one through an influential process called language transfer.
The key influence determining SLA happens to be the language input that learners get. Those learning a language become more proficient the more they are engaged in the language they are trying to learn and the more time they dedicate on reading the language. Stephen Krashen formed the input hypothesis theory, which purports that comprehensible stimuli alone is adequate for second language acquisition (Patrick, 2019). The theorist differentiates between language learning and language acquisition, arguing that acquisition takes place unconsciously whereas learning happens consciously. According to the theory by Krashen, the way SLA happens is the same way first language acquisition takes place (Patrick, 2019). Krashen contends that the rules of a language gained consciously serve a restricted purpose in the use of language, acting as an analysis structure that could check the output of second language for its form – supposing the leaner has enough awareness, inclination, and time (Patrick, 2019). Other researches by various scholars have indicated that chances for output may also be appropriate for learners to achieve more heightened levels.
Researchers have invested much time and resources understanding the role age plays in second language acquisition and to explain adults do not acquire a new or second language as effectively as children. The areas of research by many scholars form the basis of this study. Many scholarly researches acknowledge that age is a vital factor in learning language (Rahman et al., 2017). Nevertheless, the magnitude to which age is an influential factor still remains a debatable issue. Eric Heinz Lenneberg’s theory (critical period hypothesis) that he developed in 1967 postulates that there is a biologically designated time in life when it is easier to acquire language (Patrick, 2019). Lenneberg´s framework implies that it becomes hard to acquire language beyond a certain age (Patrick, 2019). The scholar contends that bilingual language acquisition can only happen effectively during the vital period of two years to puberty. The critical period hypothesis relates with the neurophysiological mechanism, which suggests that in those trying to acquire a second language late in life are depicted in different locations of the brain, specifically the Broca’s area (Rahman et al., 2017). In those learning a second language early in life, nonetheless, a similar activation in the Broca’s area happens for both languages. The depreciation of plasticity in the brain is the reason why adults may require more time and concentration contrasted to children in SLA (Rahman et al., 2017). Hence, children would acquire a second language more rapidly compared to adults.
The following research questions guide the research;
- Does age impact on how people acquire second language?
- Are children better placed to acquire second language compared to adults?
It is anticipated that children will acquire second much faster and without much obstacle than adults because the brain of a child works in such a way that it can master the phonological and phonetical aspects of the targeted language more effectively compared to that of adults.
At the start of any meaningful study, a researcher selects a framework of techniques and methods to be utilized and applied in the study process. The framework is often called a research design (Jongbo, 2014). A research design allows the researcher to choose of the research methodology that is appropriate for the topic or research questions (Jongbo, 2014). Research design also compliments the specific form of research that a researcher should perform. Jongbo (2014) reiterates the importance of selecting a research design that is likely to give reliable outcomes. Nonetheless, some researchers make deductions while relying on inappropriate research designs, which results in total failure. Hence, a researcher should first critically evaluate the research design that suits their study and become familiar with its key components before settling on a specific one.
A suitable research design for this research is the explanatory research design. Just as the name suggests, explanatory research design is utilized to broaden further, discover, and describe the researcher’s theories and concepts (Osuagwu, 2020). The research design is utilized to further broaden, examine, and describe the ideas and theories a researcher uses in performing the research. The method is utilized to expound on the unexplored components of a specific issue or subject and to try to clarify unclear areas and missing forms (Stebbins, 2011). The exploratory research design is suitable in this instance because it is flexible and can change with adjustments as the research takes place. Furthermore, the approach is preferable to other research designs because it is not costly to implement and presents an opportunity to put a strong foundation for the research, which opens avenues for conducting additional research (Stebbins, 2011). However, the chief limitation with the research design is that it only works best with qualitative data. Besides, exploratory research design is disadvantageous because interpretation can be biased, thereby affecting the entire process (Stebbins, 2011). Another limitation that the researcher should understand is that the research design requires a smaller sample, thus the findings cannot be precisely interpreted for a larger population. However, effective application of the research design is likely to give the desired results.
The suitable data collection approach for the study is systematic literature review. Data collection in a research context refers to the practice of collecting and measuring data based on different variables. Data collection happens systematically and allows one to respond to identified research questions, verify the hypothesis, and evaluate results. Data collection when performing a research allows the researcher to respond to relevant questions, assess results, and make inferences concern future probabilities and trends.
The systematic literature review method serves as the most suitable data collection technique for this research. The method recognizes, chooses, and critically evaluates research with the goal of answering a research question. A fruitful systematic literature review is one that adheres to a clearly formulated guideline or structure where the outline is adequately identified before conducting the review (Okoli & Schabram, 2010). Moreover, a systematic literature review allows a researcher to synthesize outcomes to form an overview of existing evidence that can contribute towards a particular issue or evidence-based practice (Okoli & Schabram, 2010). The researcher must stick to the key elements of the process to achieve the most impressive results. It is imperative to structure the research question, search and appraise relevant literature, extract data, analyze and synthesize collected data, and report findings (Okoli & Schabram, 2010). Using systematic literature review in the right way offers a better chance to collect information that is reliable considering that the data comes from the works of other scholars who performed some research before producing or publishing the work.
Data analysis is an essential aspect of any research. The process summarizes the collected data and entails interpreting data collected using logical reasoning and analytical processes to find out trends, connections, and patterns (Fauzi & Pradipta, 2018). Researchers also engage in data analysis with the objective of drawing conclusions about the collected data to be able to make proper choices or simply to broaden awareness on various aspects. Data analysis can also be termed as the scientific process of examining, refining, changing, and exhibiting data with the objective of finding helpful information, informing deductions, and promoting decision-making (Fauzi & Pradipta, 2018). Researchers may choose to use either qualitative or quantitative data analysis methods when performing data analysis. The data analysis can be utilized independently or in fusion with others to allow researchers gain insight from various forms of data (Fauzi & Pradipta, 2018). Data analysis is important when conducting a research of any nature because it makes studying and understanding data much simpler and precise. The process helps those in charge of the exercise to candidly interpret the data so that they do not omit anything that could enable them acquire insights from the data set.
The research will utilize the descriptive data analysis approach because of its relevance and strengths. The data analysis method makes it possible to describe, summarize or show data sets in a constructive manner such that patterns might develop that meet every aspect of the data. It is one of the widely applied techniques for performing data analysis in a research (Yellapu, 2018). Nonetheless, descriptive data does not permit the researcher to make inferences beyond the data sets they have analyzed or arrive at conclusions concerning any hypothesis the researcher may have generated. Descriptive analysis is very essential because if the researcher simply presented the raw data it would be difficult to conceptualize what the data is showing, particularly if it is of large quantity (Yellapu, 2018). Thus, descriptive analysis allows the researcher to present data in a more constructive manner, which enables simpler and effective interpretation of the data. Some of the possible aspects to measure when using descriptive data analysis are the central tendency, which finds the central place of an occurrence distribution for a dataset and spread, which helps to summarize data by showing how spread of scores happen (Yellapu, 2018). Effectively deploying the descriptive data analysis technique makes it possible to deduce meaning and conclusion from datasets.
It is important to consider the potential limitations of descriptive data analysis to avoid inconveniencies when conducting the research. The approach is limited because they only permit the researcher to make assumptions about the objects or people that they have measured (Thompson, 2009). Researchers cannot utilize the data they have gathered to generalize to other items or objects, that is utilizing data from a sample to make inferences of the properties or perimeters of a particular population. Other than lack of generalization when using descriptive analysis, the outcomes may not be 100% precise (Thompson, 2009). Consequently, researchers should consider the possible effects of these limitations on the research process.
The research proposal centers on SLA, while emphasizing how younger people tend to acquire a second language much faster compared to adults. Lenneberg´s critical period hypothesis asserts that it is easier to acquire the second language at a younger age than at advanced ages. The brain, especially the Broca’s area, works in such a way that activation of both languages happen at the same time at the part of the brain during childhood. The research seeks to find out whether age plays some role in determining how people acquire a second language. It is expected that adults will encounter difficulty acquiring the second language because the brain of a child better functions in acquiring a new language compared to that of an adult. The study will use explanatory research design that presents a better chance to expound on the research questions even further. The systematic literature review approach will serve as the primary way of gathering data, and it involves identifying the right sources that give clear and relevant information concerning the research questions. The descriptive data analysis technique will serve as the method for analyzing data, and it entails making deductions from what a researcher reads from the dataset. Deploying all the methods as effectively as possible presents the opportunity to understand whether age impacts on second language acquisition and whether children acquire second language more effectively compared to adults. The only thing that needs to happen to achieve the targeted aspirations is for the researcher to be conversant with all these aspects and to understand how to get the best results while deploying them.
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