Skehan clearly explains that it is not impossible for children to become native speakers of a language that they would have considered as foreign in their homeland. Provided the child arrives before the age of 12 in the new country, his brain is still young and flexible enough to absorb the new language to the point where he will be able to pass for a native speaker. However, unlike Skehan, I do not believe that language learning can be measured by variables and testing methods. The reason I disagree with him is because the tests being conducted in order to gain an understanding of the way a child learns a language is quite outdated and not truly applicable in the modern educational system of the 21st century.
Unlike decades past, ESL learners now have more opportunities for exposure to a new language that is not limited to the school setting. In fact, these language learners, thanks to the advent of the internet and social media, oftentimes find themselves already exposed to and learning a new language long before they need to formally need to learn the new language.
Ema Ushioda and Zoltan Dorneye actually built a solid case for motivation as being a primary reason behind second language acquisition. For most adult English language learners, they only push themselves to learn the new language and work towards a proficiency in the English language because their survival depends upon it. Migrating a new country and being unable to communicate their thoughts and needs to those beyond their immediate family or community members almost certainly ensures that they will fail to succeed in the new life that they have chosen for themselves.
As such, I would have to say that my exposure to L2 learners has proven that survival is a great motivation for them to succeed in acquiring their new language skills. Succeeding in learning the second language almost always proves to have a positive social, psychological, ...
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