Journal of Human Sport and Exercise

Natural acquisition of the second language (l2) through routine movements in children

Laura Rio, Nicoletta Di Rubbo, Filippo Gomez Paloma



Research is increasingly showing that the brains of people who know two or more languages are different from those who know just one – and those differences are all for better. (Kluger, J. ,Times Magazine 2013). Multilingual people, studies show, are better at reasoning, at multitasking, at grasping and reconciling conflicting ideas. A bilingual brain is proving to be more flexible and more resourceful. Gregg Roberts, a language–immersion specialist with the Utah State Office of Education, says, “Monolingualism is the illiteracy of the 21st century”, (Kluger, J. ,Times Magazine 2013).This preliminary project would demonstrate that acquiring a second language for children is possible through an alternative teaching proposal that integrates body into the natural language acquisition process thanks to a new didactic method fun and exciting which stimulates children to consider the second language more friendly and less hostile.The groups we are going to consider attend the last year of the infant school, they come from different schools, the first group, (the random group) attends regularly at school, traditional frontal lessons of the second language (L2), two hours a week; the second group, (experimental group) doesn’t learn the second language at school but will start our experimental programme which allows them to acquire the second language through routine movements during the gymnastic hours for one hour a week. In this way children start to decode the language and slowly become confident with it. This method consider that teaching the second language will become more difficult as children grow, and grow their ability to the movements: as movements become more complicated so will the vocabulary become more complex (Doron, H. ready-steady-move 2007-2013).Starting from this preliminary study we would demonstrate that the experimental group, compared to the random group, even if exposed to the second language one hour a week less than the random group, will be able to remember and perform routine movements if exposed to the second language and imitating the teacher: smiling, laughing, turning around, walking, reaching, sitting, running, and so forth. This methodology will be more efficient than a traditional teaching lesson because children will learn naturally and in their natural environment. Dr. Asher calls this "a language-body conversation" because the parent/teacher speaks and the infant answers with a physical response; in this case the teacher gets immediate feedback that the children understand when they give an appropriate physical response (Kovács, J. 2010).To conclude, we must consider that children are happy when they can play, move and sing, all better if these activities are combined. There is a saying that a child does not do what he has learnt, but rather the contrary: he learns what he has already done (Kovács, J. 2010). That’s why in early language acquisition, activities linked with movements, competitions, dance and group games are very important. All these need time to develop receptive skills (understanding based on listening) before the productive use of the language appears (Kovacs J. 2010).For the future we would refine the method, consider a wider group of children and of different ages, and experiment the natural language acquisition also in specific motor disciplines.


second language, natural acquisition, routine movements, Total Physical Response


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