My thesis was about learning in English at tertiary level and the language learning challenges that second and/or additional language speaking first-year students of English experience during their academic careers. The objective of this paper is to examine the notion of language proficiency as Cummins refers to it, and the distinction that Krashen make between acquiring a second/foreign language, and learning a second/foreign language. The theoretical framework for this paper is thus based on the theory of Cummins (1984, 2000) and Krashen (1982). Cummins (2000) argues that a minimum of 5 - 7 years are needed for second language learners to catch up academically, i.e. to acquire the language proficiency that is needed to succeed at tertiary level. He distinguishes between conversation proficiency (or what he used to term BICS) and academic proficiency (formerly termed CALP). Krashen (1982) makes a further distinction between acquiring versus learning a second/foreign language. It is hoped that this paper will, firstly, contribute to a better understanding of why second language speakers of English experience language learning challenges in their academic careers, and secondly, suggest ways in which these challenges could be minimized.
|Keywords:||First-Year, Students, Learning, Acquiring, Second Language, English, Language, Proficiency, Challenges, Strategies|
Lecturer, Academic Development Department, EMS Faculty, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, Western Province, South Africa
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