Issues for SSL

When a student has a strong understanding of their vocabulary, it can actually help them in learning a second language. Most English words originated in another language. For example, if an Italian speaking student knows the word bene, then they will have an easier time understanding the word benefit in English. However, if that student didn’t have a very well- developed vocabulary in their native language, they will probably have a more difficult time using that knowledge to learn a second language. This is common in early elementary, where students are still being taught common sight words in their own language; therefore, learning more subject specific vocabulary, such as parts of a plant, will be more difficult.

Another challenge second language learners face is language specific idioms. If a student were to look up all the words in the sentence “a piece of cake,” they still would not know what I meant when I said “sure I can change the oil in my car, it’s a piece of cake!” Also, we have numerous words in the English language that have two meanings, such as the word staple. This word could mean the piece of metal that binds papers together, or it could mean the basic essentials in our diets. And then there are words that make no sense when combined. Even if a student had a strong understanding of the word egg and also knew what a plant was they still would not know what an eggplant was.

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