Minggu, 10 Juni 2012



Second Language Acquisition
which is lectured by Prof. Utami Widiati, M.A., Ph.D

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A.        Introduction

There are two purposes of language learners in learning L2. One group wants to achieve academic competence while the other wants to achieve interpersonal competence. The first group doesn’t care much about speaking skill as they only need language as a tool in research, understanding specific area of knowledge, writing and publishing theses, journals, and the other academics materials. The second group uses language as a media to conduct “face to face” contact with native speakers.
B.        Discussion
            Here are the list of 5 (five) components of language knowledge. They are vocabulary, morphology, phonology, syntax, and discourse. For those who aim at the academic competence, they will treat these five components differently compare to those who aim interpersonal competence.
In addition, there are two language activities. They are receptive (reading and listening) and productive activities like writing and speaking.
B.1      Vocabulary
Vocabularies for academic competence are more complex because every field of study has its own technical terms which have different meanings among others. Vocabularies for interpersonal competence are not too complex because they only relates to daily vocabularies which are commonly spoken by native speakers. Of course they don’t have specific technical terms as the academic competence does.

B.2      Morphology
Morphology for academic competence has complex word forming and commonly encountered affixes in scientific terms. For example, biology, psychology, sociology. They have suffix –ology which means “study of” or prefix bio- for biology, biodiversity, biochemical which means “life”.
Morphology for interpersonal competence is not too complex. However, there might be some redundancies because some words usually carry meanings such as tense, aspect, and number agreement, which are called inflections.
B.3      Phonology
Those who want to acquire academic competence don’t care about their accent since they hardly speak directly to native speakers. They only concern about reading, listening, and writing journals, theses, and academic publications.
            Those who concern about interpersonal competence will try hard to speak like native speakers do. They much care about the native speakers’ accent. It was something, which seems impossible for learners to acquire. No matter how well the learners are able to speak, in fact, they never compete to native speakers.
B.4      Syntax
Syntax in academic competence is more complex because it is often grammatically complex, involving various types of subordination. In addition, passive constructions are much more likely to be used in order to foreground objects and results and to background agents of actions.
In contrast, grammatical structure used for interpersonal competence is much more likely to be short, and simple. For instance, there are many fragments like OK, Right, and Me too. The function is to show speakers’ point of view rather than to transfer referential information.
B.5      Discourse
Discourse in academic competence might cover all academics need like research papers, lecturers, and book review. In contrast, for interpersonal competence, discourse will cover the skill of, for example, how to order food in the restaurant.
B.6      Reading
Reading in academic competence is considered to be a very important material. It happens as people here have to understand all important and new technology, technique, or approach. While in interpersonal competence, reading ability is used for reading letters or the other simple activities.
B.7      Listening
Reading in academic competence is considered to be a very important material. It happens as people here have to understand all important and new technology, technique, or approach. While in interpersonal competence, listening ability is used for conducting daily conversation to native speakers.
B.8      Writing
Academic writing will of course very different from interpersonal writing. Academic writing like journal, theses, paper works, will be more difficult compare to interpersonal competence like writing letter for friend.

B.9      Speaking
Those who want to master L2 for academic purposes aren’t care much about the native accent, intonation, pronunciation, and still many more. However, for those who want to master L2 for personal competence will concern much about how to speak nearly like native speaker.
C.        Conclusion
            The different purposes between academic and interpersonal competence are clearly seen. This condition will create different point of view about how language is learned because there is different priority in acquiring it. For example, academic will probably think that speaking is less important while interpersonal will say that speaking is the most important since they have to speak “face to face” with native speakers.




Saville—Troike Muriel (2006). Introducint Second Language Acquisition (2nd ed.). Cambridge University Press.

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