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Native language acquisition is a natural and non-natural stage-by-stage process. The natural first stage is development of speech and listening skills. In this stage, competency is gained in the home environment. The next, non-natural stage is development of literacy, a cultural skill taught in school. Since oral-aural native language development is gained at home, schools do not generally focus on it, but concentrate on development in the second stage. When the two stages are considered in relation to Thomas G. Sticht's Law about native language acquisition, which states that reading skill can not exceed listening skill, it is logical to assume that without proper aural-oral development, literacy skills can never be properly developed. These stages of native language acquisition must also apply to foreign language learning. They are especially important if Sticht's Law is considered, because the home environment does not support development of the needed aural-oral stage in the second language. Therefore, for foreign languages, schools must take the place of the home environment and assure that learners are competent in the first stage before proceeding to teach the skills of the second stage. (MSE)

Descriptors: Comparative Analysis, Language Acquisition, Language Skills, Learning Processes, Listening Skills, Literacy, Reading Skills, Second Language Learning, Second Languages, Speech Skills, Writing Skills

Author: Neiburg, Michael S.


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