Author(s)Quintana Martínez, Alejandro
KeywordsGrau en Estudis Anglesos
Grado en Estudios Ingleses
Bachelor's Degree in English Studies
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AbstractTreball de Final de Grau en Estudis Anglesos. Codi: EA0938. Curs acadèmic 2015-2016
The present paper examines the age factor of learning a second language acquisition. Age has often been considered a major, if not the primary, factor determining success in acquiring a second language. The age factor has different performance stages in second as well as in first language. The general period for acquiring the knowledge of a first language regarding the Critical Period Hypothesis lies within the first years of life (Biological foundations of language, 1967). Although it is said that because of the children’s brain plasticity, these are not able to learn a first language during or after puberty, in the 1960s, two children who grew up out of the society did so. However, they learnt the first language more slowly and in a different way than others who learnt it at an early age. Traditionally, the Critical Period Hypothesis has derived two major aspects of language learning; »the younger the better« and »the older the worse«. The usual claim is that young second language beginners are at an advantage over old beginners. This is important for second language instructions in school among other situations. The consensus is that learners, whose exposure to the second language is early in life, attain higher proficiency than those whose exposure begins in adolescence or childhood. Moreover, the present paper focuses on studies with people of different ages with the purpose of showing the belief that children learn faster and better than adults do. Many studies (Asher and Price 1967; Muñoz 2006; Politzer and Weiss 1969, among others) have proven that age is not an hindrance to learn languages. Yet, situational factors, like moving to foreign countries, as well as personal factors such as individual differences while learning a new language, influence the language learning process of person in various ways. At the end of the paper, a pedagogical implications is given from the point of view of acquiring languages after puberty.