Contrastive analysis reveals similarities and differences between L1 and L2. It is therefore interesting to examine empirical evidence for how similarities and differences affect learning, and, hence, the choice of pedagogical methods.
Assumptions regarding first language acquisition go farther still. It is generally said that comprehension precedes production, and most didactic techniques are based on this assumption. The Total Physical Response Method, for example, is fundamentally based on this belief.
Another hypothesis states that children acquire language in a systematic rule-governed way, and that what motivates the child to speak is the need to communicate. Hence, the Communicative Approach to second language learning.
There is increasing empirical evidence to dispute these hypotheses--bar the Critical Period Hypothesis as a concept, not as a corpus of verities. Maturational readiness, the basic concept of this hypothesis, is an empirical observation rather than a clearly defined theory explicated through neurological statuses.
This paper very briefly looks into the acquisition of L1 and of L2 in the child and in the adult, and assesses these modes of acquisition and learning in terms of common pedagogical methods.
The Critical Period Hypothesis posits that there are chronological points in a child's development at which he or she is optimally ready to learn a particular respo