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The Importance Of Learning A Second Language

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Language is the most effective device of communication in everyday life. It has influenced people's cognitive development and it is the medium in which they translate their ideas and thoughts into a communicative form. However, to learn a language, whether a first (L1) or second (L2), one has to work hard and spend a great time. While acquiring a first language is a natural and unconscious process, learning a second language is a conscious and sometimes comes out of inner personal desire (Saville-Troike, 2006). In this case, the learner encounters difficult issues as he is exposed to new linguistic system different from his first language; his mother tongue.
Every nation has its own national language. In Saudi Arabia, the country's national language is Arabic. English which occupies a high position among world international languages is the only foreign language taught in formal schools for six years and recently for nine years. However, this long experience in learning English gives the students good grammatical knowledge but most of them face difficulties in speaking English fluently and accurately and come across different embarrassing situations when they are
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In many cases, the foreign accent is affected in one way or another by the native accent (Avery & Ehrlich, 1992; Vergun, 2006). Thus, a learner should have good phonological background of a second language for successful communication in the language. Avery and Ehrlich (2012) stated that an individual's L1 has an immediate influence on his/her ability to hear and produce the sounds of the English language. Learners fail to produce some sounds that are not present in their mother tongue. Other factors such as age, gender, motivation, learning experience and attitude towards the language also affect L2 learner's pronunciation. However, understanding these factors will help ESL/EFL teachers to improve their students'