Second Language Learner — The 5 Stages to Language Acquisition

second language learner

Learning a second language has been proven to be easier at a younger age than as an adult. Unless you’re a hyperpolyglot, the feat to becoming fluent in multiple languages will be a very difficult one. A second language learner goes through a few stages before they get the language—five stages to be exact. These stages may vary depending on age and access to the language. For example, if the family speaks some of the second languages, there will be less anxiety or pressure. For the most part, these are the five steps that occur when learning a new language. 

The Second Language Learner 

Stage 1— Acceptive

This is usually a more silent stage in learning. At this point, the student is learning new vocabulary words and pronunciation. The length of this stage just depends on the student. Some linguists add that it’s better to not be silent during this time. One will be able to learn the language better when they speak it. Even if that’s only the few words that they know. 

Stage 2— Early Production 

At this stage, a person will start to understand the language more. Sentences will start to form and vocabulary will have expanded. This is an exciting first start with language. Depending on how much a person is studying or how much access they have, the time spent in this stage will differ. 

Stage 3— Almost There

For a young child, this stage is a basic conversation that they might be able to have. The vocabulary has now reached to about 3,000 words. This is great! Progress is most noticeable at this stage. Notably, reading and writing in a second language becomes a skill during this stage. 

Stage 4— Intermediate Fluency 

This is usually a big learning point. With more than 6,000 words known, more complex sentences can be formed. At this point, most students will also begin thinking in a second language. This helps with proficiency. Also, writing and reading will have improved a lot. This stage usually takes about a year. 

Stage 5— Continued Learning 

Anytime you take on a new language, you’re constantly learning. Even with your native tongue, there are new words and new things to learn. At this level, a person is having conversations and reading more complex books and articles. This continues on. As long as you keep practicing the language, you won’t be set backward. With a lot of music, group chats, and travel, a second language can stick easily. 

If you have a child, give them a head start in life. By learning a second language, they’ll have more opportunities in the world. The time is now. 

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