This is the first extensive and longitudinal study on acquisition of English L2 by Bantu language speaking children. It is based on naturalistic data from Sesotho- speaking three to six year old children in English-medium pre-schools, in Lesotho, Southern Africa. It traces the development of nominal and verb morphology with special reference to plural, possessive, tense, aspect, agreement, modals, and modality. Specifically, it focuses on the order of morpheme acquisition, the process of acquisition, and developmental errors. Observations are made about similarities and differences between first language (LI) and second language (L2) acquisition. The findings are also related to current theories of L2 acquisition. The study investigates interaction between the language environment and L2 acquisition in a multilingual environment where children interact with a heterogenous group with various levels of proficiency in English. The relation between children’s language and linguistic environment is established qualitatively and quantitatively. Another independent variable in L2 acquisition, gender, is considered. A relation is observed between L2 acquisition and gender in a traditional society where cultural socialization is biased. A relation occurs especially in the frequency of morphemes and the rate of L2 acquisition in a manner which differs from English L1 acquisition. The study adds to the understanding of Second Language Acquisition (SLA) in a multicultural, partial immersion environment. It concludes with a discussion of factors influencing the patterns of L2 acquisition in early childhood. These include the environment of L2 acquisition, age of learner, cognitive development, and others. The implications of this research for performance in English L2 in Southern Africa are discussed in the final chapter.
|Degree Type||Doctoral degree|