Learning a language is essential for humans’ life since language is used as a means of exchanging information among humans. Starting from the phase of being a baby, human have tried to communicate with each other. If you have children or child, or you happen to witness the growth of your relatives, you will find that infant smile, cry, and even try to tell their condition by saying “gagaga” or something like that. Adults, being able to communicate properly, can show many advanced features of the language, such as: able to convey what they mean to deliver, to persuade, or even to command something.
Some factors, opinions and facts, might be responsible to the result of language learning. The factors influencing language learning might originate from outside of learners or within the learners. Such factors have either positive or negative impacts on the learners, depending on the context it occurs:
- Imitation, the main factor of learning language
Children who learn their first language use imitation to acquire it. However, they do not imitate everything. In fact, they selectively imitate those words or structure where they are in the process.
- Parental Guidance
When acquiring a language, due to children’s creativity they are prone to commit grammatical error during the process of acquiring. The error could be wrong verb placement or pronoun error, for instance: The man give me the book yesterday, it should have been “the man gave me the book yesterday”. When learning first language this might not be a serious problem since they appear to be able to acquire the correct form without any explicit feedback from the parents. On the contrary, in the second language learning parents must give corrective feedback to the children. Otherwise the children may be persistent to use incorrect grammatical form for years.
- Mistakes are from first language interference
Native language patterns transfer is one of prominent sources of errors when learning a second language, for example like in Bahasa Indonesia and English. Adjectives come before nouns in Bahasa Indonesia, while in English it happens the other way round. However, that is not the only one. One of them is target-language rules overgeneralization. The example for this situation is when a student learns verbs in English. He/she overgeneralizes a pattern “-ed” for all past verbs, for example: “Want” is the present form and its past form is “wanted”. Because of the overgeneralization, that learner perceives that the suffix “-ed” precedes all past-form verbs. More serious problems may arise if the learners are frequently in contact with other learners committing same errors.
In addition to those factors above, other factors can influence the language learning as well. Depending on the learners, each factor entails on varied outcomes for the learners.
Lightbown, P. M., & Spada, N. (2013). How languages are learned (3rd ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Richard-Amato, P. A., & Richard-, A. (2003). Making it happen: From interactive to participatory language teaching: Theory and practice (3rd ed.). White Plains, NY: Pearson Education (US).