chapter  1
8 Pages

2 The Process of English Language Learning and What to Expect

It is generally accepted that anybody who endeavors to learn a second language will go through specic stages of language development. According to some second language acquisition theorists (e.g. Pienemann, 2007), the way in which language is produced under natural time constraints is very regular and systematic. For example, just as a baby needs to learn how to crawl before it can walk, so too a second language learner will produce language structures only in a predetermined psychological order of complexity. What this means is that an ELL will utter “homework do” before being able to utter “tonight I homework do” before ultimately being able to produce a target-like structure such as “I will do my homework tonight.” Of course, with regard to being communicatively eective, the rst example is as successful as the last example. e main difference is that one is less English-like than the other. Pienemann’s work has centered on one subsystem of language, namely morphosyntactic structures. It gives us an interesting glimpse into how an ELL’s language may progress (see Table 1.1).