Critical Period for Acquiring a Second language

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Critical Period for Acquiring a Second language

Is There a Critical Period for Acquiring a Second Language?

Objective of StudyTo test the prediction of whether there is a critical period for acquiring a second language.

Implications*Foreign language classes should be implented at an earlier stage of learning and development in schools* If modern language instructors are working with older learners, they must take into account learners time to acquisition will be long. Language instructors must be patient!* Instructors should measure a variety of benchmarks (i.e. oral expression, written expression, oral comprehension, and written comprehension.

Participants46 native Korean or Chinese speakers who had arrived in the United States between the ages of 3 and 39, and who had lived in the United States between 3 and 26 years by the time of testing.

Study DesignSubjects were interviewed and tested on a wide variety of structures of English grammar, using a grammaticality judgment task.

FindingsThe results support the conclusion that not only is there a critical period for first language acquisition, but also for second language acquisition.

Vocabulary!Critical Period: a period during someone's development in which a particular skill or characteristic is believed to be most readily acquired.

Work CitedJohnson, J. S., & Newport, E. L. (1989). Critical period effects in second language learning: The influence of maturational state on the acquisition of English as a second language. Cognitive Psychology, 21(1), 60-99

CritiqueThe study is strong in the fact that it evaluates variuos age groups and accounts for different lengths of residency in the U.S., however, the study could have been improved by including a (1) larger and (2)more diverse sample size.


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