Talk:Second language

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Today's articles for improvement
WikiProject icon This article was selected as Today's article for improvement on 21 October 2013 for a period of one week. WikiProject icon
WikiProject Languages (Rated C-class, High-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Languages, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of standardized, informative and easy-to-use resources about languages on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
C-Class article C  This article has been rated as C-Class on the project's quality scale.
 High  This article has been rated as High-importance on the project's importance scale.
WikiProject Linguistics / Applied Linguistics  (Rated C-class, Top-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Linguistics, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of linguistics on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
C-Class article C  This article has been rated as C-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Top  This article has been rated as Top-importance on the project's importance scale.
Taskforce icon
This article is supported by Applied Linguistics Task Force.

Lingua franca[edit]

The article states: "French was for a time the lingua franca (the origin of term) in Europe." The way I understand what the brackets, they seem to suggest that the term "lingua franca" originates from the usage of French as such a language. However, as stated in the article lingua franca, the term actually comes from a language called "lingua franca", an Italian-based pidgin/creole used in the Middle Age as a lingua franca. So I now remove the text in brackets. Marcoscramer 23:40, 1 November 2005 (UTC)

All the information about lingua franca, though interesting in its own right is irrelevant to an article about Second Language. The former term derives from sociolinguistics and historical linguistics, whereas the latter from psycholinguistics and applied linguistics. More practically, learning a second language does not necessarily mean learning the Lingua Franca, and for many people the lingua franca is a first language. Since L2 and lingua franca are distinct concepts, I think it is preferable to delete any information that may cause confusion about the correct meaning of the word. TheArchon 19:30, 14 May 2006 (UTC)

The L1 and L2 notation wasn't explained or developed in the article, so I deleted. Now that all of the irrelevant "lingua franca" content has been removed, there doesn't really seem much left here at all. If we're left with just a dictionary definition, should this page remain at all? Ogdred 02:47, 18 May 2006 (UTC)

Major re-write needed[edit]

I just came across this article, and it just doesn't make sense. It starts by defining second language as a language learned where it is spoken, as compared to a foreign language, which is learned where that language is not spoken. These are the correct definitions, and universally used in other languages. However, all the second language examples in the article are foreign language examples. English is the world's largest foreign language, not second language, and Latin can by definition never be anything but a foreign language. I've just added the article to my things to revise, and hope to be able to do so in a not too distant future. Thomas Blomberg 01:34, 13 February 2006 (UTC)

Agree. It's been written by some very very random "second language acquisition" (ugh what a term) enthusiasts. The whole article is indeed bonkers. I tried to help by lifting the "foreign language" distinction and re-arranging. --Sigmundur (talk) 13:11, 9 April 2014 (UTC)
@Sigmundur: that comment was written in 2006, and the article looked very different back then. But yes, it certainly does need rewriting and/or copy-editing, and it needs a lot more citations. Please do try and improve it some more - the help would be much appreciated. Possibly the number one thing to do would be to work out how this article and the second language acquisition article interact. I reckon that the second language acquisition section should be rewritten in summary style. — Mr. Stradivarius ♪ talk ♪ 17:11, 9 April 2014 (UTC)
*shrug* it's good enough for me, the gist is there. Maybe someone who really cares... --Sigmundur (talk) 11:34, 10 April 2014 (UTC)


I too just recently came across this article. There wasn't much to it when I arrived at it. I was surprised by that. Then I realised that people have been cutting it up and not leaving much behind. Hmm... Well, obviously it needs work. I've added some bits on age, language loss, and in point form, some of the characteristics of learning a 2nd language. There also should be theories of 2nd language learning... and much much more. Anyway, here's a start.

I've added the table with the similarities and differences between the L1 and the L2. And I've done some description of it. Also, I've listed in bullet form theories of learning. And some references and further reading.DDD DDD 01:52, 23 May 2006 (UTC)

Suggested renaming of article[edit]

This article is not about "second language", but about second acquired language. The fact is that the term "second language" has many meanings and the term is not standardised. I have edited the "first language" article to reflect the different views, but the entire "second language" article is devoted to just one viewpoint on first and second languages (namely that a second language is one that was acquired second). One can either rewrite the article trying to NPOV it, but that would change the entire nature of the article, or one could rename it "second acquired language" (or similar) and make minor changes to it to remove the implied fact that the second language is the one acquired second. Your comments? -- leuce 10:41, 31 October 2006 (UTC)

It's an interesting point. I think, on balance, that the title should stay, because
Names of Wikipedia articles should be optimized for readers over editors; and for a general audience over specialists. (see Wikipedia:Naming conventions).
I have a suggestion. What about keeping the title, and creating two main subdivisions, one for acquired and one for learned languages? Obviously, the former will be longer to start with, but that needn't be a problem. In the intro before the first header, it could be stated why these two terms are important, and that the word second is purely nominal, as the language in question could be the third or thirteenth. Do you see this as a useful way forward? BrainyBabe 15:39, 31 October 2006 (UTC)

Second Language compared with Foreign Language[edit]

I believe the section should be rewritten because the definitions don't seem to be exactly right.

Second language: Not one's native tongue, but it is used widely within the country of the person's residence in social discourse, and for him or her will be used on personal conversations with close friends as well as more formal business and government liaisons. For example, French in Canada, English in Singapore or India, French for Flemish in Belgium (if they are willing to use it and bar the issue of Belgium dissolutionism).

Foreign language: Not one's native tongue, and it is not used in social discourse, and for him or her will be confined to dealing with people who speak that language as native speakers or sometimes for certain government and business matters. For example, English in Hong Kong for most local Hongkongers (despite English being an official language), French in South Korea, Arabic in Germany.

The reason I propose this redefinition is because English in Singapore is a living language despite the second language of everyone, but it isn't the case in Hong Kong despite sharing British colonial heritage. You can get by using English in Singapore, but certainly face troubles communicating in HK using English only. --JNZ (talk) 21:04, 23 January 2008 (UTC)

Second language/L2[edit]

In my opinion, the title of this page should be changed in "L2". Now in linguistic with "L2" we intend any languages learnt after the mother language or L1, i.e. both "second language" and "foreign language". --Daviboz (talk) 01:08, 19 December 2008 (UTC)

The problem is that virtually no-one will know what L2 means, and I'm sure "L2" is used for another thousand things in this world too. --Hooiwind (talk) 16:12, 28 April 2011 (UTC)

Weird - Egypt[edit]

I quote: "Although Egypt, like most of the other Arab Persian Gulf states, was once a British colony, English, like in China, is a foreign language in Egypt". I guess I'm quite slow and just can't comprehend the finesse between a foreign and second language, but I have lived in Cairo for 6 months using only English. And now, question: does the state of Egypt say "English is NOT a second language for our people" or am I missing something? Alzwded (talk) 18:55, 26 May 2009 (UTC)

History section?[edit]

Is there any data on what languages have been learned in the past?-- (talk) 03:58, 12 March 2013 (UTC)

Data table should be removed[edit]

Weber's data from 1986 is obviously out of date and Ethnologue's methodology for counting speakers is not clear. It's best to just remove the section. (talk) 22:22, 13 August 2013 (UTC)

General Tidying Up[edit]

There are some good starting points in this article, but as others have suggested, it still requires some work. I still find the current definitions of second language and foreign language to be somewhat unclear and think this could be remedied by providing clear, contrasting definitions with explicit examples. Furthermore, the article lacks citations, which I find to be extremely problematic. The citations should be present and cited using a superscript rather than embedded in the text, like in an essay. I don’t think an entire rewrite is necessary, but some tidying up and proper citations. Mjung11 (talk) 16:10, 17 September 2014 (UTC)

You should be aware that Wikipedia only requires inline citations of controversial information, and when required any style of citation is acceptable. I am removing the "needs citation" tag because the citations are acceptable. It would be best if all citations were in the same style, but that isn't necessarily superscript references. See Wikipedia:Citing sources. Alázhlis 03:55, 3 January 2017 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Alázhlis (talkcontribs) wasi