In a diverse country like India, where more than 100 recognized languages are spoken, being a multi-lingual person is not an option but a necessity. Even if learning local languages doesn’t appeal to you, there are plenty of foreign languages to be learned and multitudes of reason to learn them. This article throws some light on the concept of second language acquisition. Second language acquisition or second language learning basically refers to learning a new language other than the native language.
The second language acquisition can involve learning any language other than the native tongue of the speaker and can also involve learning third, fourth or fifth language. The process that studies the science of learning a new language is also referred to as second language acquisition. Learning a new language has immense benefits, involves a lot of self-motivation and has life-altering effect on the learner. What motivates one to learn a new language? Linguists have done a lot of research and studies on what exactly motivates a person to delve into the new language learning process.
The results of the studies reveal that there are two types of motivations, integrative and instrumental that drives the person to make the efforts of learning a foreign tongue. Integrative motivation means that the person studies the language with an aim of better understanding a new culture and society. The language becomes a contrivance for building meaningful relationships and hence integrative motivation offers better results than other types.
For instance, a cross-cultural romance or friendship can easily accelerate the new language acquisition as the desire to communicate with a partner or friend provides the motivation to learn the new language. Studies have also shown that interactively motivated personalities have more positive attitude and are comparatively quicker at picking up the nuances of pronunciation and accent.
On the other hand, instrumentally motivated learners use the new language to achieve a higher goal, where language competence is more like an added skill helpful in achieving a professional milestones or a personal accomplishment. People who use the second language as a tool to earn money can be said to be instrumentally motivated. In this case, most of the time it is the career prospects and industry requirements that drive professionals to learn a new language.
For example, publishing industry has a number of opportunities for those with French language learning skills in the form of translators and interpreters and therefore people looking for similar jobs would in all likelihood be the most inclined to learn French. Being instrumentally motivated is not problematic; however, the lack of interest or cultural curiosity can result in retarded rate of learning.
Benefits of second language acquisition Transfer of culture/Cultural Immersion Learning a foreign language is a holistic process that requires the learner to understand the nitty-gritty of the associated culture. On the other hand, if you do not understand or speak a certain language, chances are abounding that you won’t be able to fully immerse the culture of that place.
There are a number of jobs that focus on or deal with international audience, and hence learning a second language and gaining expertise in the foreign language can open up the gates to a lot of such previously untapped opportunities. Not only these jobs are highly-paying, the competition is also limited since not all prefer to take the pain of going through the intensive learning process. For example, companies like Volkswagen, BMW and Mercedes which are based out of Germany are in constant need of German language experts. Thus, learning German language can translate into a dream job in such reputed organizations. A major booster to Cognitive Development Multiple studies have concluded that learning a second language is more of a cognitive problem solving exercise than a linguistic activity. Not only does it increase an individual’s critical thinking abilities and creativity but also provides a boost to his/her numerical abilities. However, surprising it may sound, the studies reveal that students who learn a foreign language consistently outperform their non-learner peers in standardized tests of mathematics.
Where to look for language courses in India? There are many highly reputed language schools in India that provide a number of short-term as well as long-term language courses. The top five schools for language studies in India are: School of Languages-Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi Central Institute of English and Foreign Languages- Hyderabad Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi University of Delhi, New DelhiBhartiya Vaidya Bhava, New Delhi