Critical Period Of Foreign / Second Language Acquisition And Pronunciation For Late Learners

2161 WordsNov 19, 20149 Pages
The purpose of this paper is to review the literature which examines whether there is a critical period in foreign/second language acquisition and in pronunciation for late learners. The Critical Period Hypothesis refers to the claim that there is an optimal period for language acquisition which ends around puberty (Lenneberg, 1967). Generally, the advanced level of cognitive development enables adults to perform better than children in most areas. However, in the domain of language learning, children seem to have an edge over adults. All children master their first language within a proper environment. On average, children are more successful than adults in learning a foreign/second language even with native-like competence. However, adults often struggle to learn a foreign/second language and seem to fail to acquire the language. Therefore, researchers have raised the question about whether there is an optimal period in language learning. Lenneberg (1967) hypothesized that language should be acquired only within a critical period between early age and puberty. Lenneberg’s (1967) Critical Period Hypothesis (CPH) considered only the realm of first language acquisition, and there was affirmative or negative evidence for a critical period influencing first language acquisition. All human beings are actually able to develop first language proficiency within adequate stimuli. However, Genie (Curtiss, 1977) who could not fully develop her first language due to cognitive and

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