Language Learning vs. Language Acquisition

Many people wonder about the distinction between language acquisition and language learning. Here’s a simplified explanation:

When you pick-up new words in a language, you are experiencing language acquisition. This is the subconscious process by which one gains skills and competence in a language. Babies acquire their first language; they do not learn the language. Fortunately, this ability is not limited to babies. In fact you can acquire a language at any age given proper exposure and an ability to relax and enjoy the process.

When you study grammar rules and vocabulary you are learning a language. The learning process can be used to supplement language acquisition. Personally, I prefer mixing the acquisition process with learning. I loved the ability to unlock entire realms of conversation by studying the past tenses in Spanish. I simply didn’t enjoy enough exposure to the language to naturally acquire the past tenses at the speed I wished to master the skills. However, I was perfectly capable of studying a textbook and then practicing and listening carefully to examples from native speakers. There are many advantages to being an adult when it comes to language learning!

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Language Learning vs. Language Acquisition

  1. Nicole says:

    Thanks for the article! Now I understand the difference.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>