Encyclopedia of the Sciences of Learning

2012 Edition
| Editors: Norbert M. Seel

Second Language Learning

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-1428-6_826



Second language learning (SLL) is concerned with the process and study of how people acquire a second language, which is often referred to as L2 or target language, as opposed to L1 (the native language). Generally, the term second language in this context can refer to any language (also a third or fourth language) learned in addition to the native language. However, second language learning would be contrasted with a bilingual learning situation, in which a child acquires two languages simultaneously (e.g., when the parents speak two different languages). We only speak of second language acquisition if another language is acquired after the first language.

The terms learning and acquisitionare frequently treated as synonyms in the literature. Some researchers, however, distinguish between acquisition and learning, stating that acquisition refers to the gradual subconscious development of...

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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.English DepartmentUniversity of ViennaViennaAustria