Chapter 12: Adult Language Learning

Many linguistics students know more than one language – in fact, the metalinguistic awareness that goes along with bilingualism, multilingualism, or language learning is often what attracts learners to linguistics in the first place. While Chapter 11 considered how humans acquire language from birth, this chapter examines how we learn a language after the first one.

When you’ve completed this chapter, you’ll be able to:

  • discuss the ways that learning a language as an adult differs from acquiring a language from birth,
  • understand some of the motivations and challenges of learning an additional language,
  • identify processes that are typical of learning any language as an adult,
  • predict how an adult learner’s first language can affect their learning of an additional language.



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Essentials of Linguistics, 2nd edition Copyright © 2022 by Catherine Anderson; Bronwyn Bjorkman; Derek Denis; Julianne Doner; Margaret Grant; Nathan Sanders; and Ai Taniguchi is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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