Language acquisition vs language learning are two different concepts, which both involve the acquisition of a second language. Language acquisition usually refers to the process of learning a second language by immersion and exposure, without formal instruction. On the other hand, language learning is where teaching is involved.
What is the difference of language acquisition and learning?
Language acquisition is the process of how you learn your first language. Language learning is the process of acquiring any new language after this, like English or Chinese.
The difference between language acquisition and language learning is that in the process of acquiring a new language, you are not conscious of what is happening to you until you are able to communicate with others; whereas when you are learning a new language, there may be an individual trying to teach it to you in some form.
What is the similarities between language acquisition vs language learning?
The two main similarities are the following:
- Children have a natural inclination to learn the language.
- Language Acquisition and learning are human-specific abilities that depend on the interaction with other humans.
There are some differences between language acquisition and learning, but they are not noticeable when it comes to both children acquiring their first language and adults learning a new one.
For example, when evaluating grammatical rules or vocabulary in an acquired or learned language, it is more difficult for adults than for children because of their different linguistic competence levels when they acquire or learn the language respectively.
What is Language Acquisition?
Language acquisition is the process of acquiring knowledge of a language. This includes both the learning of grammar and vocabulary, as well as the development of fluency, literacy, and cultural competence. Language acquisition usually refers to what is specifically termed second language acquisition (SLA), which encompasses learning a new language after childhood.
What is Language Learning?
Language learning is the process of acquiring a second language.
The process of language learning can be divided into three stages: first language acquisition, second language acquisition, and foreign language learning. The first-language acquisition is about children acquiring their mother tongue and taking it as a first and dominant language. Second-language acquisition refers to adults who acquire their second languages; they are fluent in both their first and second languages, but work on perfecting their skills in the new one. Foreign-language learning is about how to learn third or more languages as an adult.
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Key Differences Between Language Acquisition & Language Learning
The difference between language acquisition and language learning is that language acquisition is natural and spontaneous, while language learning is learned intentionally.
To learn a new language (learn) means to study it. Language acquisition (acquiring) is the act of talking it without any formal teaching or training.
Language is the primary means of communication used among humans. There are different theories about how children develop their first language. Some believe that children learn this just by being around other people, mainly their families. This can be named as language acquisition. It is thought that children learn to speak a language without any real conscious effort or study.
By the time a child is five years old, he or she can express ideas clearly and almost perfectly. They’re still learning the language, but don’t require formal study.
Language learning is a structured process that entails learning vocabulary and sentence structures step by step. It differs to machine translation because it requires human input, but can be useful for those who want to learn another language without paying too much attention (e.g., students). This is the most typical method used in schools and language learning centers.
Claimed to be a slower process than language acquisition, studies have shown that people learning a language can spend years without mastering it. The two main differences between language acquisition and language learning are that acquisition happens through immersion instead of applied learning, and acquisition is passive whereas learning requires actual participation. You’ll gain practical knowledge of the language while you’re there. You might not know all the grammar rules but you should be able to immaculately converse with native speakers.
On the other hand, language learning focuses on teaching practical knowledge of how to speak a language. A student might know all the grammar rules and sentence structures but might lack the confidence to have a conversation with someone else who speaks that language.
If you’re looking for a way to learn a language and retain it, then structured teaching is the way to go. However, it is not the best way to acquire it.
Which One Should You Choose between language acquisition and language learning?
In the past, language learning was not an option for many people in the world. With today’s technology, anyone in any country can learn a new language through various methods. Some people prefer to do this in their spare time or when they are traveling to other countries, while others prefer to take it more seriously and enroll in language acquisition courses.
You should choose between language acquisition vs language learning depending on your needs and goals. Language acquisition is best for those who want to learn a new language quickly or when they are living abroad. It provides native speakers with real-life immersion in the target culture by helping them learn about the culture, its customs, traditions, and etiquette.