What is the difference between language acquisition and language learning?

What is the difference between language acquisition and language learning?


Some people use the term ‘language acquisition’ for all steps including how to read and write a language fluently while others use the term ‘language learning’ for children. But there is a fundamental difference between these two terms.


Children acquire language through a natural, subconscious process during which they are unaware of grammatical rules. This takes place especially when they acquire their first language (s). They repeat what they listen to from others and thus get a feeling of right and wrong. In order to acquire a language, they need a source of natural communication, which is usually the mother, father, and relatives. They will repeat what they hear, use word discipline until they understand, and use it purposefully in their communication. 


Language learning, on the other hand, is the result of direct instruction in the rules of language. Language learning is not an appropriate activity for very young children as the presuppositions of language learning are that the language learners must have a conscious knowledge of the new language that they want to learn. Language learners usually possess a basic knowledge of the grammar of the first language, that they acquired. They know the differences in what a grammatically correct word order is in a sentence in the language. Contrariwise, when we learn a new language we have a deductive approach to the phonology, morphology, lexicography, and syntax of the target language. It means that we carefully read the grammar of the target language and try to memorize the facts or grammatical rules which are essential.


However, it is transparent that acquisition and learning are quite different from each other and acquisition lasts long but learning is not long lasted comparing to acquisition. The acquisition is a natural way and learning is a hard way. 

Read More: Definition of Linguistics

Mr. Abdullah
Mr. Abdullah

Mr. Abdullah is a passionate love of Literature. Researcher and Lecturer of English Literature and Language.

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