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Age, Rate and Eventual Attainment in Second Language Acquisition

Stephen D. Krashen, Michael A. Long and Robin C. Scarcella
TESOL Quarterly
Vol. 13, No. 4 (Dec., 1979), pp. 573-582
DOI: 10.2307/3586451
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3586451
Page Count: 10
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Age, Rate and Eventual Attainment in Second Language Acquisition
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Abstract

This paper presents evidence for three generalizations concerning the relationship between age, rate, and eventual attainment in second language acquisition: (1) Adults proceed through early stages of syntactic and morphological development faster than children (where time and exposure are held constant). (2) Older children acquire faster than younger children (again, in early stages of morphological and syntactic development where time and exposure are held constant). (3) Acquirers who begin natural exposure to second languages during childhood generally achieve higher second language proficiency than those beginning as adults. While recent research reports have claimed to be counter to the hypothesis that there is a critical period for language acquisition, the available literature is consistent with the three generalizations presented above.

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