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CLL Session 8: Age effects in SLA LAEL, Lancaster University Florencia Franceschina.

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Presentation on theme: "CLL Session 8: Age effects in SLA LAEL, Lancaster University Florencia Franceschina."— Presentation transcript:

1 CLL Session 8: Age effects in SLA LAEL, Lancaster University Florencia Franceschina

2 1. Some observable facts A. Older is better in the short term B. Younger is better in the long term C. Even very extensive exposure does not guarantee native-like attainment

3 Older is better Older learners have been observed to have an advantage in terms of rate of acquisition in the initial stages of SLA, both – In naturalistic settings (e.g., Snow and Hoefnagel-Hoehle, 1978) – In instructed settings (e.g., six studies in Garcia-Mayo and Garcia-Lecumberri, 2003)

4 Snow and Hoefnagel-Hoehle (1978) L1 English / L2 Dutch Immersion Tasks: Pronunciation, auditory discrimination, morphology, sentence repetition, sentence translation, sentence judgement, story comprehension, Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test Findings: After 3 months residence: adults and adolescents outperformed children on tests After 10 months residence: the children caught up

5 Garcia-Lecumberri and Gallardo (2003) L1 Spanish/Basque / L2 English Instructional setting Start age: 4, 8, 11 Mean time-span of exposure: 6 years for all Tasks: vowel/consonant discrimination, spoken production (measures of intelligibility, degree of foreign accent, overall performance) Most results indicate an advantage for the late starters

6 Younger is better Immigrant studies have shown that there is a negative correlation between age of arrival (AoA) and level of L2 attainment Examples: - Oyama (1976, 1978) - Patkowski (1980) - Johnson and Newport (1989) - Hyltenstam (1992)

7 Long exposure does not guarantee success Example: Coppieters (1987) 21 L2 French nearnatives LoR in France: years task: intuitions about grammar none of them was within the NS range

8 Other differences between adult and child SLA Younger and older learners make different types of mistakes in certain areas Example: Lasagaster and Doiz (2003) written production, L2 English 11/15/17 year-olds - younger learners make more spelling mistakes - younger learners resort to codeswitching more often - older learners make more tense mistakes, but they use more complex language than the younger ones

9 2. Accounts of age effects Critical period vs. General age factors

10 Critical Period Hypothesis (CPH) Lenneberg s original formulation (1967) Evidence: – Recovery from brain damage (Lenneberg, 1967) – Feral children (e.g., Genie - Curtiss, 1977) – Late FLA in deaf signers (Mayberry, 1993)

11 Exercise: Who are these people? Which one is the odd one out? Why? Victor of Aveyron Kaspar Hauser Kamala and Amala Ivan Mishukov

12 General age factors Example: Bialystok (1997), Bialystok and Hakuta (1994) argue against a cut-off point, and for a continuous decline of language learning abilities

13 References Bialystok, E. 1997: The structure of age: in search of barriers to SLA. Second Language Research 13, 2: Bialystok, E. and K. Hakuta. 1994: In other words: the science and psychology of second language acquisition. New York: Basic Books. Coppieters, R. 1987: Competence differences between native and near-native speakers. Language 63, Curtiss, S. 1977: Genie: a psycholinguistic study of a modern-day "wild child". New York: Academic Press. Garcia Lecumberri, M. L. and F. Gallardo. 2003: English FL sounds in school learners of different ages, in M. D. P. Garcia Mayo and M. L. Garcia Lecumberri, eds. Age and the acquisition of English as a foreign language. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters. Pp Garcia Mayo, M. D. P. and M. L. Garcia Lecumberri. (eds.) 2003: Age and the acquisition of English as a foreign language. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters. Hyltenstam, K. 1992: Non-native features of near-native speakers. On the ultimate attainment of childhood L2 learners, in R. J. Harris, ed. Cognitive processing in bilinguals. Amsterdam: Elsevier. Pp Johnson, J. and E. Newport. 1989: Critical period effects in second language learning: the influence of maturational state on the acquisition of English as a second language. Cognitive Psychology 21,

14 References Lasagabaster, D. and A. Doiz. 2003: Maturational constraints on foreign language written production, in M. D. P. Garcia Mayo and M. L. Garcia Lecumberri, eds. Age and the acquisition of English as a foreign language. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters. Pp Lenneberg, E. H. 1967: Biological foundations of language. New York: John Wiley. Mayberry, R. I. 1993: First language acquisition after childhood differs from second language acquisition: the case of ASL. Journal of Speech and Hearing Research 36, Oyama, S. 1976: A sensitive period for the acquisition of a non-native phonological system. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research 5, 3: Oyama, S. 1978: The sensitive period and comprehension of speech. Working Papers on Bilingualism 16, Patkowski, M. 1980: The sensitive period for the acquisition of syntax in a second language. Language Learning 30, Snow, C. E. and M. Hoefnagel-Hoehle. 1978: The critical period for language acquisition: evidence from second language learning. Child Development 49,

15 Reading Singleton, D. 1995: Introduction: a critical look at the Critical Period Hypothesis in SLA research. In D. Singleton and Z. Lengyel (eds.): The age factor in second language acquisition. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters. Pp


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