This page is now a bit dated. Later info in Cook and Singleton (2014).
S. Krashen, R. Scarcella, & M. Long (eds.), Child-Adult Differences in
Second Language Acquisition, Newbury
|1.||Adults proceed through the earlier stages of syntactic and morphological development faster than children (where age and exposure are held constant)|
|2.||Older children acquire faster than younger Children (again, the early stages of syntactic and morphological development re time and exposure are held constant.|
Acquirers who begin natural exposure to second languages during childhood generally achieve higher second language proficiency than those beginning as adults.
V. J. Cook (ed.) (1986), Experimental Approaches to Second Language Learning, Chapter 2 Web version 1.
Older children are better than younger children at learning a second language.
2. Adults are better than children at learning a second language 3.
Immigrants who start learning a second language younger end up better speakers than those who start older
David Singleton: The one interpretation of the evidence which does not appear to run into contradictory data is that in naturalistic situations those whose exposure to a second language begins in childhood in general eventually surpass those whose exposure begins in adulthood, even though the latter usually show some initial advantage over the former.
Explanations for age
cognitive the level of the mind may be different social the types of social role and relationship may differ physical hearing or speaking or brain storage may differ input the language encountered may be different
Rough lecture notes Good or bad? what is age anyway? CPH theory Lenneberg physical: lateralisation, gyrus granule, plasticity statements in VJC statements in KSL differences??? age of start versus period of learning other factors, measures? levels Geschwind explanations cognitive: social physical UG Cook (1986) concentrated on the methodological limitations of the research literature, looking particularly askance at the over-reliance on educated immigrants as subjects, on English as the second language, on Indo-European languages as the first language, on the USA as the main country of immigration, on the limited aspects of language tested in the research, and on the learners' date of arrival rather than on their age of start. growth version of UG associated with Borer and Wexler (1987).... non-growth version Chronological age is a meaningless variable in itself simultaneous bilingualism are whether the child's two languages develop separately sometimes called the independent development hypothesis - and whether bilingual acquisition follows the same path as monolingual acquisition. The evidence that is cited is extremely mixed and goes back many years, usually at least to Ronjat (1913) and Leopold (1939-49); reviews can be found in McLaughlin (1984) and de Houwer (1990). McLaughlin's review reports, mostly in terms of language processing and memory, that 'research with bilingual children does not support the notion of a dual language system' (McLaughlin, 1984, p.195). On the other hand de Houwer (1990) finds largely the same literature much more ,ambivalent when restricted to genuinely simultaneous acquisition; 'there is as little positive evidence for the position that bilingual children develop two separate linguistic systems from the earliest stages of acquisition on as there is for the claim that bilingual children start out with a single linguistic system which is later differentiated or separated into two linguistic systems' (de Houwer, 1990, p.49). Bongaerts, Planken and Schild (1995) elicited speech samples from native speakers of English and from two groups of Dutch learners of English, one of ten people believed to be native-like, the other of 12 who were not. Native judges put the second group within the range of the native speakers, with four Dutch people exceeding the native speakers. They argue then that ‘there appear to be cases of ‘late’ second language learners who can pass for native speakers phonologically’, contrary to the belief that a native accent is never attained. . Bongaerts, van Summeren, Planken and Schils (1997) essentially redid the same experiment with more control of judges and subjects but still found a proportion of L2 users who were within the bounds of the native group.
Diverse ages of endpoint of Critical Period
Asher, J. and Price, B. (1967) The learning strategy of total physical response.-some age differences, Child Development, 38, 1219-1227.
Bongaerts, T., Planken, B., & Schils, E. (1997), ‘Age and ultimate attainment in the prouniciation of a foreign language’, SLR, 19, 447-465
Cook, V.J. ‘Multi-competence and effects of age', in Singleton, D. and Lengyel, Z. (eds.), The Age Factor in Second Language Acquisition. Multilingual Matters, 1995, 51-66Harley, B. & Wang, W. (1997), 'The Critical Period Hypothesis: where are we now?' in De Groot, A.M.B. & Kroll, J.F. (eds) (1997), Tutorials in Bilingualism: Psycholinguistic Perspectives, Lawrence Erlbaum pp.19-52
Johnson, J. & Newport E 1989 Critical period effects in second language learning: the influence of maturational state on the acquisition of ESL. Cognitive Psychology 21: 60-99
Long, M. 1990. 'Maturational constraints on language development'. SSLA 12: 251-86.Patkowski, M. 1994 ‘The critical age hypothesis and interlanguage phonology. In Yavas, M. (ed.) First and second language phonology San Diego, Singular Publishing Group, 209-21.
Singleton, D. & Lengyel Z. (eds.) (1995). The age factor in second language acquisition: a critical look at the Critical Period Hypothesis. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters
Singleton, D. (1989), Language Acquisition: The Age Factor, Clevedon, Multilingual Matters
Slavoff, G.R. & Johnson, J.S. (1996), ‘The effects of age on the rate of learning a second language’, SSLA, 17, 4, 16
Numbered list of selected articles on age in Second Language Learning (expanded from Cook 1986)
1. Asher. J. and Garcia. G. (1969) The optimal age to learn a foreign language, MLJ, 311,334-341.
2. Seliger. H., Krashen, S. and Ladefoged, P. (1975) Maturational constraints in the acquisition of second languages, Language Sciences, 38, 2(122.
3. Oyama, S. (1976) A sensitive period for the acquisition of a non-native phonological system, Journal of Psycholinguistics Research, 5, 261-285.4. Oyama. S. 1975 The Sensitive period and comprehension of speech, Working Papers on Bilingualism, 1975,1-17.
5. Patkowski, M. (1990) The sensitive period for the acquisition of syntax in a second language, LL,, 30, 449472.
6. Olson, L. and Samuels, S.1. (1973) The relationship between age and accuracy of foreign language pronunciation, Journal of Educational Research, 66, 263-267.
7. Asher, J. and Price, B. (1967) The learning strategy of total physical response.-some age differences, Child Development, 38, 1219-1227.
8. Snow, C. and Hoefnagel-Hoehle, M. (1978) The critical period for language acquisition: evidence from second language learning, Child Development, 49, 1
9. Snow. C. and Hoefnagel-Hoehle, M. (1977) Age differences in the pronunciation of foreign sounds, Language and Speech, 20, 357-365.
10. Fathmann, A. (1975) The relationship between age and second language productive ability, LL, 25, 245-253.
11. Ekstrand, L. (1976) Age and length of residence as variables related to the adjustment of migrant children, with special reference to second language learning. In G. Nickel (ed.) Proceedings of the Fourth International Congress of Applied Linguistics, Stuttgart, Hochschulverlag, 3, 179--I 97
12. Ekstrand, L. (1978) English with a book revisited: the effect of age on second language acquisition in formal setting, Didakometry, 60
13. Locke, I. L. (1969) Experimentally elicited articulatory behaviour, Language
14. Kuusinen. 3. and Salin, E. (1971(Children's learning of unfamiliar phonological sequences. Percept. and Motor Skills. 33,559-562.
15. Gomes da Costa. B., Smith, T. M. F. and Whiteley, D. (1975) German Language Attainment, Julius Groosg.
16. Smith, K. S. and Braine. M.D. S., Miniature languages and the problem of language acquisition, mimeo.
17. Ramsay, A and Wright F N (1974) Age and second language learning, J Soc. Psych., 94
18. Thorndike F L (1928) Adult Learning, NY, Macmillan.
19. Cheydleur F 1933. An experiment in adult learning of French at the Madison Wisconsin Vocational School J. Ed.Res 26 259-275
20. Ervin Tripp, S (1972) Is second language learning like the first? TESOL Quarterly,8
21. Politzer R L and Weiss L 1969 Developmental aspects of auditory discrimination, echo response and recall MLJ 53, 75-55.22.Walberg H. J., Hase K and Rasher, S. P. (1978) English acquisition as a diminishing function of experience rather than age TESOL Quarterly, 12/4,427-437.
23 Johnson, J. & Newport E 1989 Critical period effects in second language learning: the influence of maturational state on the acquisition of ESL. Cognitive Psychology 21: 60-9924 Johnson, J.S., & Newport, E.L. (1991) 'Critical period effects on universal properties of language: the status of subjacency in a second language', Cognition, 39, 215-68
25.Singleton, D. (1989), Language Acquisition: The Age Factor, Clevedon, Multilingual Matters
26.Singleton, D. & Lengyel Z. (eds.) (1995). The age factor in second language acquisition: a critical look at the Critical Period Hypothesis. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters
27. Cook, V.J. ‘Multi-competence and effects of age', in Singleton, D. and Lengyel, Z. (eds.), The Age Factor in Second Language Acquisition. Multilingual Matters, 1995, 51-6628. Bongaerts, T., Planken, B., & Schils, E. (1997), ‘Age and ultimate attainment in the prouniciation of a foreign language’, SLR, 19, 447-465
29. Patkowski, M. 1994 ‘The critical age hypothesis and interlanguage phonology. In Yavas, M. (ed.) First and second language phonology San Diego, Singular Publishing Group, 209-21.
30. Long, M. 1990. 'Maturational constraints on language development'. SSLA 12: 251-86.
31 Slavoff, G.R. & Johnson, J.S. (1996), ‘The effects of age on the rate of learning a second language’, SSLA, 17, 4, 16
32. Harley, B. & Wang, W. (1997), 'The Critical Period Hypothesis: where are we now?' in De Groot, A.M.B. & Kroll, J.F. (eds) (1997), Tutorials in Bilingualism: Psycholinguistic Perspectives, Lawrence Erlbaum pp.19-52Bongaerts, et al (1997), ‘Age and ultimate attainment ...’,