A second language can be any language that is acquired by an individual after the acquisition of the mother’s language which is believed to be the first language regardless of where one is born. This type of language can be regarded as an auxiliary language to a person. In most cases, such language can be used after a thorough practice resulting from learning on acquiring it. It can be as a result of movement from one place to another or through a continuous interaction with the people who use that same language adapted by another individual. In most cases, if a person can move from the original homeland to a different place, then the first language may be lost as a result of the second language. On the other hand, a foreign language is a language that is used in one’s native country and can be acquired at a later age through undergoing some learning exercise (Flynn, Suzanne 384).
The differences between the second language and the foreign language therefore are; the second language is acquired by a person regardless of where one is born and the original place of residence while a foreign language is learnt at a later age after the development of cognitive skills. Another difference is the process of learning and the level of conscious leading to the learning exercise. In the second language, one is capable of getting the words used within the environment of usage and therefore can acquire them through participation in the communication exercise. In foreign language, the language is not used or spoken in the acquirer’s immediate environment but can get it through the mass media and can be learned with an intention to perform a given specific task by the learner. While the second language can be learnt through a free will, a foreign language may require a set time and lessons with a teacher guiding the whole process. The second language may not involve the study and appropriate use of grammar while studying the language as it may be the case for a foreign language whose study is intended at getting each and every specific item on grammar (Flynn, Suzanne, and Wayne 387).
In second language, more time is required while in foreign language relatively less time is required. Similarly, in secondary language, it is an exercise that is rarely guided by a teacher while in the foreign language it must involve an expert who knows and understands the language best. In terms of the skill, in the secondary language there is need for an oral communication while in the foreign there is quite a lot of dependence on written material within a classroom environment. In the second language, the language is only acquired by the learner while in the foreign the language is learnt out of the conscious determination to know within a limited period of time.
The similarities are that, in both languages a learner may acquire them after the first language called the mother tongue. Both the languages require some commitments and time period to master them to achieve fluency and the grammar may have a diverse influence from the first language. In both, the learner may need an external influence or the source of that language that is being learnt through interaction. The learner may need to use continuous practice of what is learnt to improve the fluency of the language in both cases. This is through a continuous use of what is learnt within a stipulated period of time as result of interaction with an expert in both cases of language. On mastery of the language, they can be used by the learner regardless of the first language as long as it is convenient to use.
Flynn, Suzanne, and Wayne A. O'Neil. Linguistic Theory in Second Language Acquisition. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1988. Print.