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Teaching a Second Language

  • Sharon H. Ulanoff
Part of the Springer International Handbooks of Education book series (SIHE, volume 21)

What is language? Although many suggest that it is difficult to put together a fixed definition of language, as early as 1921 experts described language as a way for humans to communicate using arbitrary symbols (Hall, 1964; Sapir, 1921; Trager, 1949). Chomsky (1968) argues that language involves the construction of sentences from a fixed set of elements and Halliday (1975) describes language as varied behavior options taking place in a social context and linked to culture. Most experts agree that language in not necessarily instinctual, rather it is passed down from parent to child from birth, with most children succeeding in acquiring their native language.

Moreover, language is not uniform, rather it varies according to sociocultural characteristics of groups, e.g., cultural background, geographic location, social class, gender, age, and the influence of the speech community. There are also differences in the way language is used in specific situations, such as home, school, formal and informal settings (Heath, 1983). Language varieties, including dialects, pigeons and creoles, are regional or social variations of language (Hamers & Blanc, 2000, p. 370).

Keywords

Language Policy Language Proficiency Language Acquisition Language Minority Bilingual Education 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sharon H. Ulanoff
    • 1
  1. 1.Charter College of Education, Curriculum and InstructionCalifornia State UniversityLos Angeles

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