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L1: The learner’s first language.

L2: A term used to refer to both foreign and second languages.  See Foreign Language and Second Language.
Language Acquisition Device:  Noam Chomsky, an influential linguist and researcher, proposed that every human brain contains a language acquisition device (or LAD).  This LAD is able to hear language, analyze it, and figure out the grammatical rules. 
Language awareness: Learners develop language awareness by focusing their attention on features of language in use and making discoveries about how the language is used. Teachers can help learners to develop this awareness by asking questions.  See Discovery Activities.
Language "Chunks":  Chunks are groups of words which may be learned as a unit (e.g., thank you very much).
Language Data: Language data are actual instances or examples of language use which provide information about how the language is used. A corpus can be said to consist of language data.  See Corpus.
Language Laboratory: A language lab(oratory) is a room equipped with headphones and booths to enable students to listen to a language teaching program, while being monitored from a central  console.  Labs may be Audio-Active (AA), where students listen and respond to a tape, or Audio-Active-Comparative (AAC), where they may record their own responses and compare these with a model on the master tape.

Language Minority Student: A student who comes from a home in which a language different from the dominant language in the country or culture is spoken and who is studying in schools taught in the dominant language is called a language minority student.  In the US, 1 in 7 school children speak a language other than English at home but their school studies are in English.  These students may or may not speak English well and need support especially to develop academic language proficiency.  The same situation is found in many countries, where students speak a language at home which is not the language of school instruction and they must learn the additional language in order to succeed academically.

Language Practice Activity: These are activities which involve repetition of the same language point or skill. The purpose for language production and the language to be produced are usually predetermined by the teacher’s task. The intention is not that students use the language for communication but to strengthen, through successful repetition, their ability to manipulate a particular form or function. Asking students in a class who already know each other repeatedly to ask each other their names is a practice activity.  See Language Use Activity.
Language Proficiency: the level of competence at which an individual is able to use language for both basic communicative tasks and academic purposes
Language Use Activity: These are activities which involve the students’ using language to communicate. The purpose of the activity might be predetermined but the language which is used is determined by the learners. For example, getting a new class of learners to walk round and introduce themselves to each other is a language use activity; asking students to complete a story is also a language use activity.
Language Variety: This is a term used to talk about the variations of a language used by particular groups of people, including regional dialects, dialects related to specific social groups (sociolect), or particular language used by a particular individual (idiolect).  All dialects are characterized by distinct vocabularies, pronunciation, speech patterns, grammatical features, and so forth.
Learning: The internalization of rules and formulas which can be used to communicate in the L2.  Krashen uses this term for formal learning in the classroom.
Learning Strategies: Learning strategies are the ways learners accumulate new L2 rules and how they automatize existing ones. The strategies can be conscious or subconscious. These contrast with communication strategies and production strategies, which account for how the learners use their rule systems, rather than how they acquire them. Learning strategies may include metacognitive strategies (e.g., planning for learning, monitoring one's own comprehension and production, evaluating one's performance); cognitive strategies (e.g., mental or physical manipulation of the material), or social/affective strategies (e.g., interacting with another person to assist learning, using self-talk to persist at a difficult task until resolution).
Learning Styles: The way(s) that particular learners prefer to learn a language. Some have a preference for hearing the language (auditory learners), some for seeing it written down (visual learners), some for learning it in discrete bits (analytic learners), some for experiencing it in large chunks (global, holistic or experiential learners) and many prefer to do something physical whilst experiencing the language (kinesthetic learners).  
Lexical Item: An item of vocabulary which has a single element of meaning. It may be a single word, a compound word or a multi-word phrase, for example: book, bookcase, post office, put up with.


Lexical Chunks:  Some word combinations have a meaning as a unit and none of the words can be replaced by other words without completely changing the meaning.  For example, “by the way”, “upside down”, “a long way off”, “out of my mind”.  Students need to learn lexical chunks as a fixed combination of words or as a single lexical item. 


Lexical Phrases: Lexical phrases are phrases or multi-word expressions that can vary a little and allow some, but not all, substitutions.  They are somewhere between vocabulary and grammar.  For example, “See you soon/later/tomorrow/on Monday”, “As far as I know/can tell/understand it”, etc.   Students need to learn the fixed phrase and common or relevant substitutions. 


Lexical Set: A group or family of words related to one another by some semantic principle:  e.g., lamb, goat, chicken, beef are all different types of meat and form a lexical set.

Linguistic Competence: This broad term is used to describe the totality of an individual's language ability.  It refers to the underlying language system which can be inferred from an individual's language performance.
Linking:  In speaking, when a word ends in a consonant sound (not a consonant letter) and the next word starts with a vowel sound (not a vowel letter), the two words ‘run together’ or join so that they sound like one word.  For example, in the phrase, “Come on!”, the last sound of the first word is  /m/, and the first sound of the next word is the vowel sound /ɔ/.  When they are spoken at natural speed, the two words are pronounced as one word, “Come on” (/kʌmɔn/).