Age and Language Learning

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Age and Language Learning What exactly is the relationship between age and language learning? There are numerous myths and misconceptions about the relative abilities or inabilities of language learners of different ages. Do children learn language faster? Is it impossible for adults to achieve fluency? In a word - no. These and other common beliefs are simply not true. Children do not necessarily learn faster than adults and, in fact, adults may learn more efficiently. Furthermore, there is no loss of language ability or language learning ability over time. Age is not a detriment to language learning, and by all accounts, learning a second (or third etc) language actually keeps the older language learners mind active. People of all…show more content…
The subjects did not have any previous knowledge of Russian, the targeted language. After three short trainings conducted in Russian language, the results showed that the eight graders performed significantly better than the second graders and the fourth graders. They also noticed a consistently positive relationship with advancing age because of above average mental ability of the adults. Politzer and Weiss (as quoted in Singleton, 1989) have conducted another study in which they found that an advantage of SLA for older learners than younger ones. Their subjects were second, fifth, seventh and ninth graders. The experimental procedures were consisted of an auditory discrimination test, a pronunciation test and a reading test among 257 pupils. They recorded a gradual improvement of scores with an increase age in all three tests. Other researchers of SLA interested in assessing phonological skills of learners suggest a common belief that younger learners acquire a native like accent in the target language. Dunkel and Pillet (reported in Singleton, 1989) compared the proficiency in French between elementary school pupils and beginning students of French from the university. They found that the younger learners’ pronunciation was better than that of the older ones.
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