Second Language Acquisition

[en Español]

Learning a second language takes time, but anyone can do it. Speech-language pathologists, or SLPs, can help.

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About Second Language Acquisition

Did you learn a language in high school? Maybe you decided to learn a language before a taking a trip? Learning a second language is called second language acquisition. You may hear it called "sequential language learning." This is what happens when a child who does not speak English goes to school in the United States for the first time. Anyone can learn another language at any age. It takes a lot of practice!

The Best Way To Learn a Second Language

There are many things to think about when deciding to learn a second language. Some of these are:

  • The language spoken at home.
  • How often you will be able to practice the second language.
  • How motivated you are to learn the language.
  • Reason that you need the second language. For example, maybe you need to learn the language for school or work.

There are different ways to learn the second language. You can learn:

  • By setting. Maybe you will use English at school but speak Urdu at home.
  • By topic. For example, maybe you will speak only French during meals and only Spanish at school.
  • By speaker. Maybe one parent speaks German while the other speaks Russian.

People learn languages best when they have a good language model. If you do not speak the language well, you should not try to teach it to others.

Speech-Language Pathologists Can Help

A speech-language pathologist, or SLP, can help people who want to learn English as a second language. Learning a second language is not a disorder, but some people may choose to get help. These services are not covered by insurance. To find a speech-language pathologist near you, visit ProFind.

Other Resources

This list does not include every website on this topic. ASHA does not endorse the information on these sites.

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