The Effect of Age on Language Acquisition Research Paper

The Effect of Age on Language Acquisition
A review of the research to determine if children acquire second languages faster and more efficiently than adults.
# 153777 | 3,965 words | 18 sources | APA | 2013 | US
Published on Dec 25, 2013 in Psychology (Child and Adolescent) , Linguistics (General) , Language (General)

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This paper examines the argument that children can acquire second language skills and vocabulary quicker and more efficiently than adults. The paper explains the critical period hypothesis and the theory of brain plasticity, and reviews the research on immigrants and their children. The paper concludes with this author's belief that the research and evidence is not strong enough to assume children learn second languages faster and better than adults.

Argument for Children Having an Advantage in Second Language Acquisition
Argument Against Children Having an Advantage
The Author's Conclusions

From the Paper:

"Much of the early research on second language acquisition focused on the processes used by adult learners (Rice, 1989). The results from these early studies were so varied that it was difficult to come to any consensus theory as to what was the most effective way to learn a second language (Rice, 1989). The ability of children to learn language effectively had long been a topic of interest to philosophers but had been given little attention in second language acquisition theories (Rice, 1989). Research began on seeing if this perceived ability in children's native language learning could be related to second language acquisition (Rice, 1989).
"Studies on native language development by children tended to give more consistent information as to the speed and accuracy that children acquire their first languages. In addition, some researchers observed that immigrant children acquired second language skills quicker and more accurately than their parents (Rice, 1989). Ensuing research has both looked at second language acquisition as a process in itself, and possibly related to the process of native language learning."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Abrahamsson, N. & Hyttenstam, K. (2009). Age of onset and nativelikeness in a second language: Listener perception versus linguistic scrutiny. Language Learning, 59(2), 249-306.
  • Asher, J.J. & Garcia, R. (1969). The optimal age to learn a foreign language. Modern Language Journal, 53(5), 334-341.
  • Baddeley, A., Gathercole, S., & Papagno, C. (1998). The phonological loop as a language learning device. Psychological Review, 105(1), 158-173.
  • DeKeyser, R.M. (2013). Age effects in second language learning: Stones toward better understanding. Language Learning, 63(1), 52-67.
  • Gathercole, S.E., Service, E., Hitch, G.J., Adams, A., & Martin, A.J. (1999). Phonological short term memory and vocabulary development: Further evidence on the nature of the relationship. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 13(1), 65-77.

Cite this Research Paper:

APA Format

The Effect of Age on Language Acquisition (2013, December 25) Retrieved April 23, 2024, from

MLA Format

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