The 5 Stages of Second Language Acquisition: A Step-by-Step Chart

5 stages of language acquisition Language Learning

What do you know about stages of language acquisition? While learning a new language, there are five main stages that everyone goes through at some point. Each stage requires a different period of time, depending on a variety of criteria such as the student’s age and ability, attendance at an intensive language integration, and level of motivation to learn a new language. So, let’s look at the correct order of language acquisition.

5 stages of language acquisition

Stage 1: Pre-Production

This is what is known as a silent time. Those learning a new language may have a vocabulary of up to 500 words, but they cannot yet communicate with others. Some may just repeat everything they have heard somewhere. They don’t actually create their own sentences, they just retell them, as it usually happens with children in the first language acquisition stages.

These students, who have just begun to learn a language that is new to them, will listen carefully and may even copy words from others if the situation demands it. They are able to recognize and mimic gestures and movements to demonstrate understanding. At this stage there should be a strong emphasis on listening comprehension exercises as well as vocabulary development.

At this level, students will need plenty of repetition and trainings. They will benefit from having a “buddy” who is fluent in the language they are learning. Remember that learning can be stressful for you if you are a beginner, as you will be overwhelmed by listening to texts and music for hours to get better language comprehension.

Stage of language acquisition pre production

Stage 2: Early Production

During this period, which can last up to six months, students can increase their vocabulary to about 1,000 words. At this stage, students can often communicate in one- or two-word sentences, just as children do when learning to speak. Although they will not always be able to express themselves properly, they can already confidently form short and simple sentences from words they have already memorized.

Here are some tips for learners:

  • Ask friends to ask you yes/no and either/or questions and answer them.
  • Ask friends to ask open-ended questions, and be sure to give at least a one- or two-word answer.
  • Participate in games and contests with other learners in the language you are learning.
  • Back up your answers with illustrations and real-life examples.
  • Do written work in a new language using short phrases.
  • Don’t forget to build up your vocabulary, but don’t learn difficult words and topics in the first stages. It can discourage you.
  • Start keeping your personal dictionary. Here you can put all necessary vocabulary words and track your progress which can be really helpful for you while studying. Moreover, handling your own dictionary will keep you motivated to study.

Langavia Personal Dictionary application provides you with the system of keeping your personal dictionary. Furthermore, if you feel uncomfortable participating in language games with other learners or asking your friends to check your knowledge, our service can help you with your tasks. Langavia is based on a gamified system that will help you learn words enjoyably and without stress.

Early production second stage of language acquisition

Stage 3: Speech Emergence

At this stage, students already know over 3,000 words and can communicate effectively using basic phrases and sentences. They can usually still ask grammatically incorrect questions but are already engaged in short dialogues with their peers. They can understand simple fairy tales and read instructions with illustrations. More than that,they can also do some thematic tasks with the help of the teacher. Here are some simple tips to help you while self-teaching:

  • Read short texts on topics that interest you. You can look for material adapted to your level of knowledge, but the main thing is that the learning material must be interesting to you.
  • Write short stories yourself, based on personal experience.
  • Use flashcards containing vocabulary from the subject area that should be studied intensively. Using different modern flashcards apps, you can share flashcards and even entire topics with your friends. This will help you easily find interesting topics to study.
  • Use a thought journal. It is a great way for a new language learner to express themselves. Personal journals are especially useful for those who are learning a second language specifically. Students can write thoughts on topics that interest them and progress at their own speed and level of comprehension. They now have a “blog” where they can share their opinions and views.
The third stage of language acquisition speech emergence

Stage 4: Intermediate Fluency

Students who have reached Intermediate Fluency have an approximate active vocabulary of 6,000 words. They increasingly use complex phrases both orally and in writing, and are increasingly willing to express themselves and share their point of view. They ask questions to better understand what they are studying. Moreover, they are confidently able to participate in mathematics and science at an appropriate level with little help from the teacher. The amount of time students are willing to spend learning literature and social studies in a foreign language is increasing. At this stage, students will use the tactics of their native language to learn the new language.

Probably, still there will be mistakes in students’ written works, as they try to make sense of the complexities of grammar and sentence structure, but much less so. They can already be expected to synthesize what they have learned and form their own conclusions from their findings. Students at this level will also be able to understand more complex ideas.

Intermediate fluency in language acqusition forth stage

Stage 5: Advanced Fluency

This is the last stage of learning a new language. Students need from 4 to 10 years of studyings to achieve academic language competence in a second language. At this level, students are expected to be practically fluent in the language as a native speaker. While at the initial stage of this stage, students will need constant guidance from teachers, especially in subject areas such as history/social studies and mathematics.

The fifth stage of language acqusition advance fluency

FAQ

What factors influence the acquisition of a second language?
Age, gender, IQ, ability, motivation and attitude, personality, learning techniques, living environment and other important factors. Absolutely every aspect of a person can make learning both easier and harder. That’s why a teacher must find a unique approach to each student.
How long does second language acquisition typically take?
While there is no shortcut to fluency, and every language has its own unique learning curve, there are many things you can do to improve your chances of becoming fluent. You can make studying a language your priority by committing to daily study, investing resources in effective language learning like buying courses or going to a tutor, and determining your preferred methods of learning.

Make sure you have a study plan. It will help you stay on track, be motivated and consistent in achieving your goals. Depending on your schedule and your progress, you can complete the first few steps of second language learning in a few weeks or months, depending on your level of proficiency.

Here you can read the full article about the fastest steps to learn a foreign language.

Conclusions about stages of language acquisition

To sum up, we can say that studying a second language goes through several language acquisition stages. When you analyze your results using this article, you can understand what stage you are at and take advantage of the advice given in this article. Use comprehensive teaching methods and never lose motivation!

The Langavia service can help you with your task. If you have your own dictionary in our service, you can track the progress in improving your vocabulary. Every 1000 words and phrases you learn will definitely take you one step higher on your language learning path. In this case, this practice of keeping your own dictionary will be useful at any stage described above!

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Langavia Team

We help people to learn new languages and expand their vocabulary effectively.

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What factors influence the acquisition of a second language?
Age, gender, IQ, ability, motivation and attitude, personality, learning techniques, living environment and other important factors. Absolutely every aspect of a person can make learning both easier and harder. That’s why a teacher must find a unique approach to each student.
How long does second language acquisition typically take?
While there is no shortcut to fluency, and every language has its own unique learning curve, there are many things you can do to improve your chances of becoming fluent. You can make studying a language your priority by committing to daily study, investing resources in effective language learning like buying courses or going to a tutor, and determining your preferred methods of learning.

Make sure you have a study plan. It will help you stay on track, be motivated and consistent in achieving your goals. Depending on your schedule and your progress, you can complete the first few steps of second language learning in a few weeks or months, depending on your level of proficiency.