Effects Of Age On Foreign / Second Language Acquisition

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This paper examines literature which regards the effects of age on foreign/second language acquisition. Given the fact that adults often fail to learn a foreign or second language, many linguists and researchers have hypothesized that a critical period exists in the realm of language acquisition. Proponents of the Critical Period Hypothesis (CPH) claim that there is a critical point for foreign/second language acquisition that occurs around puberty, beyond which people seem to be relatively incapable of acquiring a foreign/second language. On the other hand, opponents pointed out that there are late learners who achieve native or native-like competence in a foreign/second language and even in pronunciation. Others opposing the CPH suggest that rather than a critical period in acquiring a foreign/second language, other factors such as the learners’ educational, social, and affective variables should be considered. Keywords: age effects, critical period, foreign/second language acquisition, pronunciation Perspectives on the Critical Period Hypothesis And Pronunciation In Second Language Acquisition Introduction 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,
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