Second Language Acquisition and Effect on The First Language


Language is the means that is used to convey information from one person to another.  The simplicity of the communication is derived from the mastery of the words,to make the recipient, comprehend the data, and take action required. Over the years, there has been an increased effort by people, to learn a second language, different from their native one. Currently, one of the most spoken languages is English and the Chinese following the list. The approach is aimed to improve the trading environment, and also to extend the education system to other parts of the developing worlds. It is fascinating to learn vocabularies of a second language, and the speed of acquisition is determined by various factors. They can be split into innate and extrinsic, that impact the way the learners perceive the new language.

Innate comprises of factors such as personal interest and efforts to search for materials, that would heighten individual’s knowledge. They contribute a significant portion towards understanding the concepts and structures of the sentences, hence improving the desire to continue learning. For the extrinsic factors, they comprise of the nature of the surrounding environment, availability of the resources such as books and teachers, among others. Both aspects converge at achieving one primary goal- improving the mastery of the second language.

Cheng (2008, p.67) postulated that SLA search is still in its infancy stages. According to his study, he noted that theories continue to be developed and challenged, hence not giving clear reasons or factors that contribute to the learning of the second language. In his study, he affirms that different authors have adopted their methodology to approach these issues. Thus diversity in results and opinions continually change with time. Based on the study conducted by Ellis (2006, p.193) he acknowledges that learning a language differs based on whether it is first, second or third. Of interest in this study was to evaluate the effortless factors that contribute to the learning process.

Furthermore, the study compares the rate of acquisition of a new language between children and adults. It was noted that kids stood a better chance to grasp new words, as opposed to the older people, who have been exposed to the different environment. The observation agrees with the research conducted by Year and Gordon (2009, p.412), who pointed out that the immediate context that an individual is surrounded by impacts the speed at which they integrate the new language. For example, a young child who is born in an English speaking country will adopt that as the first language. If the geographic location is changed, the kid would quickly learn the second language, as opposed to the parents. The scenario is well explained by Cheng (2008, p.54), who affirmed that the human brain cells age as one progresses with age. In his argument, he postulated that the younger the brain, the more it can learn new things faster.

Acquisition and Learning

Before delving into the actual review of the literature and discussion of the theories, it is important to understand the two terms, that will be widely used throughout this study. The acquisition is the subconscious development of the communication and writing skills, and use the two to pass the information to the second person. Ideally, the learner is unaware of the developmental stages but gets mastery with the length of the use of language. Based on this definition, the utterances of the speaker are not the center point of focus, but the interaction between the people exchanging the information guides in judging whether the person has acquired the needed skills. Schwartz and Causarano (2007, p.53) noted that acquisition occurs at the formative years, usually at age three, which is regarded as the growing stage.

The children can integrate information from the immediate environment, hence contributing to what they speak.   On the other hand, learning is a sequenced process of gaining the attributes of the language such as sentence structures, vocabularies, and grammar. It usually happens in an institutionalized setting, where the tutor conducts organised lessons, to equip the students with the basics and precepts of the second language. The manifest in the outcome is the sense that acquisition brings out a clear understanding and mastery of the language, while learning helps in comprehension, becoming aware, and talking about the rules.

Statement of the problem

The increasing demand for international courses has improved the movement of students from one country to another.  The surge has been witnessed in the present times, and as the time progress, it is postulated that more cultural integration would be experienced (Askehave and Swales 2001, p.200). Due to this, it has become essential for various institutions, to consider the factors that affect the acquisition of the second language. In most cases, the students are required to prove the mastery of the language of the host country or are admitted and spend a few years learning the new linguistic. Such, reports have shown that learners using the second language slightly lag, compared to those of the native country (Ellis 2006, p.174). As a result, some of them spend more time than it should be, to pursue their career.

Understanding the factors that contribute to the learning of a new language, would give insight into the areas that would require improvement. The study conducted by Cheng (2008, p.58), revealed that the tutors find it hard to harmonise the teaching materials, in class that constitutes a mix of different cultures. Thus, it is time-consuming for the teacher to deliver concepts, hence lowering the content covered in a given period. Also, he noted that a lot of studies had been conducted on the issues influencing the acquisition of the second language while negating the aspects of theories.

Therefore, the current study will inform different perspective, and shed light on the challenges that the second language learners face. The increasing demand for pursuing an education in different countries and the aspect of globalisation makes this study important, as it will serve as a leader in understanding the major issues to consider when handling internationals.Therefore, the thesis statement that guides this study can be asserted as: The first language affects the acquisition of the second one, due to the intrinsic factors such as internal motivation and the external elements like the immediate environment and time of exposure.


Learning a second language is an important aspect, especially in the current times when there is need to integrate with people from different cultures. With the globalization gaining traction over time, nations demand to understand how the others conduct their businesses, and this is only achievable by learning to speak a second language (Durrant and Doherty 2010, p.143). This work is important because it will shed light on the relevance of learning a new language, and the impact of first language in L2 acquisition. This work will be accomplished by reviewing the works done by other authors, and critically discuss the theories that support the influence of L1 in learning L2.

Research Objectives

  • To discuss the theories that support the influence of L1 in learning a second language.
  • To compare the various theories of second language acquisition.
  • To determine effects of the first language to the acquisition of the second

Literature Review

Effects of the first language to the acquisition of the second

Authors such as Gardner and Davies (2007, p.354) postulate that the immediate environment that an individual gets exposed to in the process of growing affects the learning process. In his study, he cites factors such as the type of information a person continually listens to and the kind of people they interact with the impact the learning curve.  His assertion was supported by Arnon & Snider (2010, p.78), who noted in his study that a considerable number of people adopt what they learn from the surrounding environment. Hence the possibility of learning the second one is strongly dependent on how well the surrounding fosters an opportunity to learn. Some factors have been studied, illustrating how the first language impact L2. Some of them are discussed in the following paragraphs:

Effects on morpheme

A morpheme is that part of the word, that cannot be separated from it. Trying to dissect the word, would distort the meaning, thus leading to misrepresentation of the actual purpose that the speaker wanted to convey. Ina normal situation, the first language is easily integrated by the person, and the possibility of missing the grammatical aspect of the sentences is minimal (Arnon and Snider 2010, p.73).

From the onset, children are taught the right way to pronounce words, and as they mature, they learn from the adults. Hence the command of native language is much stronger, than adopting a new one. A study conducted by Gardner and Davies (2007, p.340) investigated the effects of the morpheme in the acquisition of the English language. In this research, the participants were segmented based on their nationalities, which included Arabic, Japanese and Persians. The test involved reading, imitating, listening and writing, that were administered at the same time. It was noted that the acquisition of English morpheme followed the first order, guided by the participant’s first language. Also, the study concluded by affirming that the participants who had an earlier exposure of English language, tended to grasp the new morphemes more efficiently, and followed a particular sequence postulated by Brown (1973, n.p).

Figure 1: Sequence of morpheme acquisition (Brown,1973)

The table above gives a sequence through which morpheme is acquired based on the influence of the first language. From the arrangement, it’s clear that the more complex the words become, the more difficult it becomes for the second learner to master. The same scenario is experienced in other grammar forms, and hence the second user needs to employ enough effort, to read, communicate and write in the language of interest, to learn from the errors. Although the order might differ, depending on the length of exposure and the importance to learn,the hierarchy applies to a considerable percentage of the people who had the first exposure, especially the children.

Multiword construction

Construction of sentences both in written and spoken format follows the learning that a person was exposed to during the first language. In a bid to prove this fact, Schwartz and Causarano (2007, p.53) conducted a study, which aimed to investigate how second language learners responded to some common phrases.  The author intended to examine the processing latency and the frequency with which they recognized similar words. The experiment was set in a computer laboratory, and the participants instructed to answer the questions, which focused on content words. 

The results of this study indicated that respondent was sensitive to phrases which they were familiar to, compared to those they heard for the first time. Also, the sentence construction and arrangements of words differed from one person to another, with acute elimination of attributes of punctuation and grammar. In the same vein, where a lead on how to make a correct sentence was given, the participants seemed to get the concept right, hence concluding that the original language impedes the learning process, but accurate guidance makes the acquisition easier.

Another issue that affects the learning of the second language is collocation. It is defined as the constant juxtaposition of the words. For example, a second language learner could say “thick rain,” instead of “heavy rain.” The problem is widely experienced to new learners, who are familiarizing with the new language, not only English but also others.

Such addiction might convey the wrong message to a person who has accurate mastery of the language, hence impeding the role of communication- passing information in the right manner that is easily understandable and devoid of errors. Collocation ameliorates the chance of writing the correct form of the second language and is borrowed from the influence of the first language of interaction. Although the impact might appear minimal, its magnitude is manifest in areas where accurate reporting is needed (Durrant and Doherty 2010, p.143) such as a medical field and in the law industry. Therefore, the second language learner cannot relegate the rules of the new dialect, and searching for ways to eliminate collocation is optimal.

Among other grammatical issues that follow the same trend as collocation are vocabularies, gerund, phonetics among others. The ability to master the language come about through continued practice, and reading of literature written in the language of interest. It enables the learner to integrate new vocabularies and get exposed to various ways of constructing the sentences acceptable. Among the skills that are gained through continuous practice are reading, writing, and even speaking, which have been proofed to increase with time (Year and Gordon 2009, p.412).

Schwartz and Causarano (2007, p.150) conducted a study to investigate whether the construction of sentences; involving gerunds and infinitives affected the acquisition of the second language. In the study, he hypothesized that the high frequency of development increases the mastery of the language. Involving thirteen Spanish native speaking participants, the research yielded a significant difference in the usage of the aspects that were mentioned above (gerund and infinitive). The more an individual got used to the structures of the English language, the more they became better. Therefore, the hypothesis was confirmed regarding the frequency of exposure to the new words. To get more insight regarding the acquisition based on the influence of the first language, the following paragraphs will discuss the evolvement of the SLA theories.

Early theories in second language acquisition

Theories regarding the acquisition of either the first or second language have developed over time, with researchers contributing their opinions regarding the issues. Before the 1990s, the concept of learning a new language was explained using behaviourism, which is described as the attributes depicted by people and animals.  By then, much of the philosophies were borrowed from psychology, and anything was pegged to the external environment. At that time also, the researchers such as Cheng (2008, p.65) believed that the immediate environment that an individual was exposed to significantly contributed to their learning path. In his study, he asserts that the people surrounding a child while growing up has the impact of deterring the frequency with which they integrate the phrases of a new language. Later, the behaviorism was considered to have problems in explaining the significant factors that determine the speed of acquiring a second language. Later, a post -behaviorist era bean, with the Monitor Theory of Krashen being the leading at this stage.

Before the actual theories that are currently in use to study the acquisition of the second language, there was the adoption of the so-called “US Army Method,” that related the audio to the response. In this case, it was postulated that increased listening of a particular sound becomes increasingly familiar, and adoption follows. An experiment that was conducted to test this theory, and widely covered in biological sciences, was set up involving dogs. The trainer gave the dogs meals at a particular time, and it was noted that after a particular period, they registered in their minds the time of food administration.  The dogs would start salivating if they were not given foods at that particular time, hence forming a conclusion that language can be learned through repetitive listening.

According to the behavioural theory, learning is correlated to behaviour, of which environment is an essential factor. Notably,the behavior is defined as the traits that an individual develops over time, either depending on the type of surrounding people, or the nature of the surrounding. It becomes a routine to conform to the trends that one regularly does, similarly to the stages of learning a new language.

According to DeKeyser and Sokalski(2001, p.95), responding to the external stimuli is what we describe as people’s attribute, and they can be either positive or negative. Reinforcement of particular elements makes an individual acquainted with a certain way of doing things, which was the principal argument postulated by Cheng (2008, p.67). For example, based on this theory, children can learn a new language, through listening to the utterances of the older people. According to this model, imitation is the foundation through which the second language is learned.

However, the argument of behaviorism theory was later subdued by the assertion of other researchers who noted that imitation is not enough, to in still the precepts and rules of a second language to the learner. It was pointed out that there are other playing factors, such as the length of exposure, which affects the construction of sentences using the second language (Ellis 2006, p.187). The influence of the first language acts as a stabling block, to master the actual rules of the second language since the arrangement of the words differs. In other instances, individuals resort to using online translation machines, that distorts the flow of words, hence misguiding the learners, and the resultant effect is delayed time of proper acquisition.

As observed in the previous paragraphs, the main idea of the behaviors theory, was to consider the observable traits, to judge the level of understanding. Conversely, studies conducted by Askehave and Swales (2001, p.198) contradicted this model and argued that there are other underlying factors such as sound systems and sentence structures, that need critical evaluation to establish a good base for acquiring a new language. Through this, the learner would be able to identify some of the areas where they go wrong and eliminate the influence of the first linguistic. Krashen’s Monitor Theory, came later to solve the problem that was identified in behaviourism, by proposing that dynamic forces that influence the understanding of the second language are comprehending the utterances and personal interaction with the people speaking the language of interest.

Therefore, the aspect of second language acquisition in regards to the first one has evolved, and the focus has shifted from the basic considerations such as exposure. In recent time, more elements are considered in establishing the best way to learn, while giving much credit to the rules and principles that regulate a particular language.  In retrospect of the literature that has been consulted, the gradual changes and increased attraction towards the study of this phenomenon is attributed to the demand for people to integrate and learn other states’ dialects. To get more insight on theories that were developed after behaviourism, more recent studies,and propositions will be discussed below in details.

Different theories of SLA

Krashen’s Monitor Theory (MT)

Developed in the years the 1970s by Stephen Krashen, this theory affirms that human beings are born with a faculty of integrating and interpreting a new language (Gass et al. 2005, p.178). According to his assertion, the child is capable of processing new concepts more efficiently, and learn from the immediate environment. The argument placed across by Krashen theory upholds that the same way a person can learn the first language is similar to that of understanding the second one. To supplement the work of doing by Gass et al. (2015, p.177), Dongmei (2017, n.p), noted that learning is implicit- gaining information unconsciously, mainly contributed to by the surrounding environment and a form of internal motivation to keep oneself focused. To some point, therefore, acquisition of the second language is natural, like the way the person gets to learn the first language.

On one of the significant construct of the monitor, the theory is the input hypothesis. It explains that the only way human beings can acquire knowledge is through comprehensible input (Dongmei 2017, n.p). This details the external factors, that a person is exposed to, and how well the information is organized to facilitate the learner to amass enough knowledge that would contribute to the mastery of the second language. Understanding the message in L2 significantly depends on the source, which could be books or teachers.  Comprehensible input, therefore, contains a language that is of a higher level, denoted as (i+1). The factor, I, is the proficiency of the current language, and i+1 is the level which is beyond the learner’s present proficiency. The argument placed across by Hayland (2004, p.284), noted that it is not easy to determine the i+1, but it can be evaluated by a teacher who takes the learner through the process of language acquisition. If a teacher or a native speaker can communicate slowly and avoid the use of complex words, it becomes easy for the learner to acquire the requisite principles of the second language. In the same vein, the focus of second language learning is not only grammar but production. This is regarded as the output rather than what resulted in the acquisition. Forcing the learner to produce might hinder their learning process, and consequently leading to poor mastery of the language.

According to the monitor theory, a combination of the innate faculty and comprehensible inputs contribute to the learning of the second language effectively. Krashen argues that the same way an individual acquired the first language is similar to mastering the L2. To extend his argument, he noted that a person trying to integrate the principals and grammar rules would figure out before making the mistakes, and through trial and errors, they become well acquainted with the L2.

However, this theory warns on the dangers of imposing and forcing the individual to produce high-quality output at the inception of learning. The strategy demotivates the learner as simple and easy to comprehend aspects should be the center of focus in the initial stages. Furthermore, Dongmei (2017.n.p) noted that a comfortable environment is necessary for an individual to learn a new language. Such, access to better input is facilitated, thus becoming easy to integrate the finite elements of importance.

For example, studying in a situation where there are minimal learning resources such as books, makes it difficult to refer to concepts that might appear difficult. Also, if the immediate environment constitutes of the people who do not speak the language that one wants to learn, it waters down the actual usage of the learned words in the communication set up.

In support of the monitor theory, Hayland (2004, p.287) found out in his study that the acquisition of morpheme is similar to that of the first language. To test the hypothesis, he conducted a study involving 24 participants spread across different nationalities- Arabic, Spanish, Japanese and Farsi. The test was administered, and the answers to these questions were designed to follow a prescribed morpheme sequence. The results of this test revealed that there was a greater correlation, in the way the participants answered the questions and followed the process of acquiring the L1(first language). The conclusion of the study sustains that a combination of the comprehensible input and the internal faculty of information processing profoundly affects the acquisition of L2.

Universal Grammar Theory (UG)

Within this theory, it presents the idea that language is acquired through a set of biologically-inherited rules, that guides in proper usage of the language. The acclamation by the proposer of this theory argues that human beings are endowed with the ability to recognize various linguistics, and the brain can process the information, which results in learning.

Following the assertion, human beings have the different brain capacity to distinguish and comprehend issues in the real world. According to White (2007, p.54), the genetic composition influences the capacity of the brain to hold information, which differs from one person to another. Hence, acquiring the second language is like a deductive puzzle, which the learners have to solve, and the speed of finding solution differs. Also, Schachter (1990, p.123) points out the more extensive exposure to the parameters-data, the more an individual gets to integrate the concepts and rules of the new language faster. The small data contributes to less accumulation, impeding the learning of L2.

In the process of learning the first language, specific rules are taught, and parameters are set based on them. According to White (2007, p.43), the influence of the native language precepts might slow down the learning of the second language. For example, in the English language, most clauses are constructed with the addition of +wh, while in Chinese, they deduct the –wh. The alteration might appear minimal but contributes to the construction of sentences that are grammatically incorrect in either way. Therefore, the learner should be sensitive to such minor changes, which can only be actualized by the use of correct references.

The manifest of L1 grammar in L2 might persist if the right resetting is not done. According to Schachter (1990, p.122), resetting is the process of understanding the rules guiding both L1 and L2, and comprehending where the words affect the accuracy of the other.  Although interlanguage grammar might not be eliminated in the process of writing or communication, it is essential to becoming familiar with the extensive literature of the language of interest. With a time of increased exposure and consultative learning, the learner can eliminate the transferable traits of the first language to the second one.

To investigate the effects of resetting the language, White (2007, p.53) conducted a study involving 16 Chinese speakers. They were exposed to a test, that aimed to determine their grammatical judgment and the output of the second language. The questions were administered, that tested the various grammatical rules. The results confirmed that the participants were able to detect the use of various words in the second language, that were used differently in their native dialect. This confirms the argument that language can be reset to fit the L2. It demonstrates that L1 is the starting point for the learning of the second language, and has a significant impact in universal grammar.

Also, White (2007, p.50) conducted a study to evaluate whether teaching influences are acquiring a second language. He involved French-speaking participants, who were divided into two groups. They were tested on the placement of the English adverbs. To the first group, the author gave the team a test on adverb placement while the second group was administered the task of question formation. After the analysis was complete, it was noted that the children who did the adverb placement task did well compare to the other group.

After one year, both groups reverted to their original way of adverb replacement. The study reveals that L1 can be an impeding factor in acquiring the mastery of the second language. Therefore, teaching the language might not only be the ideal thing to do, for a learner to get concepts of L2. Other factors such as the willingness and external environment play a role. Withal universal grammar theory guides the learners not to shift away from the recommended procedures of sentence construction and arrangement of words.

Associate-Cognitive Creed Theory (ACC)

This theory is highly pegged to psychology. The argument placed across by the associative cognitive creed theory opines that language is learned through a process of listening to the external influencers, which might include teaching or listening to the natives who have well mastery of the second language. The affirmation alluded that language is acquired like any other skill. According to Ellis (2002, p.156), the ability of an individual to integrate the attributes of the second language is controlled, by how well the learner is exposed to the grammatical commands of the language of interest.

In his research that involved twenty-four participants from different nationalities (Chinese, Persians,and French), he studied the speed at which they able to interpret the rules guiding the English language. The research concludes that the speed at which each participant acquired the new language was dependent on the length of exposure. The construction of the language assumes a form of the map, where the student creates the image of the starting point to the aspired level of mastery they want (Durrant and Doherty 2010, p.154). Therefore, ACC theory proposes the idea of associating with people speaking the language of interest and using the brain to recognize the changes that are needed to avoid the interference of the first language.

 Moreover, this theory asserts that people are born as a tabula rasa. The concept elaborates that human beings are born without the knowledge of any language, and the input that gets into the brain dictates what they provide as the output.  According to Ellis (2002, p.164), the different dialects that are witnessed all over the world are as a result of the immediate exposure. Hence the children grow up speaking the language that they were introduced to the first time. Recognizing the patterns of the new language, therefore, is the ideal gauge of measuring the acquisition, and might differ depending with age; with children being able to adjust their grammatical flow of sentences compared to the old people (Martin 2003, p.42).

According to ACC, there is a limit that governs the level at which the effects of L1 can have on the acquisition of the second language. In the assertion placed across by Pienemann (2007, p.152) human brain acts as a neural plastic, meaning that it can expand based on the input. At childhood years, the magnitude of information that can be retained at a given time is magnificent, but the ability to store the same diminish with time. He noted in his study that the transfer factor of the first language impacts the ability to learn a new language. Although it is possible to acquire the new language through association and cognitive, the effectiveness is diminished by the L1 hence not all principles are assimilated (Dongmei 2017, n.p).

The absence of a feature in L1 that is present in L2 makes the learner avoid essential rules, which might alter the meaning of the words (Cheng 2008, p.67). For example, languages have different approaches to plurals. The omission of the plural morphology might convey a different meaning, that the learner does not intend to pass across, thus compounding the problem of acquiring the right structure in the required format. Overshadowing that is experienced due to the effects of the first language, contributes to the wrong usage of words and even lack of grammatical flow in written and spoken form of L2 (Macken-Horaik 2002, p.18).

Sociocultural Theory (SCT)

According to Lantolf and Thorne (2007, p.112), the sociocultural theory works by other cognitive theories, which affirm that mental developmental is a process that is largely contributed to by the external factors. Among the activities that underwrite to the growth of the human brain, thus resulting in the incremental acquisition of the second language are: one is activities such as education. Based on the description put across by Ellis (2002, p.170), education is defined as the process of learning new things and acquiring skills to become better than the previous state. It can happen by consulting a second party, such as teachers or even listening to online tutorials to gain more knowledge. The second one is artifacts which involve books, computers among others. These are tangible tools that contain information important for a learner to develop the L2. Finally, is concepts which involve comprehending the immediate environment (Pienemann 2007, p.138). Therefore, sociocultural theory borrows largely from the extant factors, and rarely attribute innate elements to being the influencers of learning a new language

SCT posits that language helps in understanding the information that is received from the immediate environment. The argument confirms that the first language, helps a learner to recognize the second language and the same way the brain was able to learn the L1 so it can to the L2. Of importance in the proposition placed across by this theory is that the capability to debunk the concepts in the second language is dependent on how well the first one was acquired. In a research conducted by Cheng (2008, p.68), he noted that listening to speeches made in L2 allows an individual learn some of the basic elements of the grammar, and how well to use them in communication. However, it might fail to give the full tutoring on the usage of the language in the right manner (Lee 2005, p.78).

The result of Lantolf and Thorne (2007, p.153) confirmed that L1 is important for the learners to integrate the L2. In their study, they involved seventy-five English speakers learning intermediate level Spanish. They were monitored for sixteen weeks, and the data about their conceptual understanding were analyzed. It was found that reliance on L1 private speech helped in the conceptual development of the second language. The study reveals that impeding the use of L1 private speech contributes to the latency of acquiring a new language. The affirmation is supported by Cheng (2008, p.62), who noted that the presence of L1 during the process of studying L2 should not be viewed as an obstruction since it enables the learner to identify the errors in various stages of the study.

Comparison of the SLA theories

Universal grammar theory and monitor theory assert that language is learned through a process of learning from a predefined set of brain. In these two theories, the proposition placed forward argues that human brain possesses a faculty, that is able to interpret information and learn new vocabularies (Arnon and Snider 2010, p.72). The abstract form of the mind is dependent on the individual’s willingness to learn. Naturally, people are able to interpret complex concepts, through reading and listening to others. Through these theories, people are born with genetic make-up, that make them internalize the input and go beyond what is provided. They are able to construct sentences and words that they have never heard before. Universal grammar theory has evolved with time, and more emphasis is laid on understanding of the principles and rules guiding the learning of a new language (Cheng 2008, p.69).

In contrast, Associative-cognitive theory bases its roots on psychology. According to assertion placed across, language is learned just like any other skill such as mathematics, biology or any other (Gardener and Davis 2007, p.353). The efforts employed by an individual dictate how well a concept is mastered, hence the need to engage in activities that aims to improve the L2 skills to a higher level. The development of this theory has advanced with time, and authors such as Ellis (2006, p.194), affirm that rather than relying on external input of cognitive expansion, immediate environment either motivates or demotivates the person to acquire a second language.In the same vein sociocultural theory is perceived different from all the others, in the sense that it attributes interaction as the primary method of learning a new language. therefore, knowledge develops through participation in social activities.


Learning the second language is affected by a plethora of factors which are broadly classified into external and internal factors. Among the external elements are immediate people surrounding the learner, and availability of the learning resources. Ellis (2002, p.167) propounds that the extant factors have a greater impact compared to the internal, hence the need for controlling them. With the increased demand for understanding the second language, Dongmei (2017, n.p) noted that the first language influence how fast the learner integrates the grammar and the morphemes associated with the L2. Therefore, the study aimed to look at the in-depth study of some of the factors, that were drawn from the available literature regarding the topic under study. To extrapolate on the understanding of the second language acquisition, four theories were studied: Monitor theory, universal grammar theory, associative-cognitive theory,and sociocultural theory. All the four theorize that L1 has a great impact on second language acquisition.


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