Is there a critical period for L2 syntax?

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crit period for syntax

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Is there a critical period for L2 syntax?
  1. YES
    1. Lardinere's longitudinal study of Patty
      1. study on ultimate attainment of L2 grammar + morphosyntax
        1. Chinese-American adult immigrant learner of English - acquired English successfully under relatively ideal conditions
          1. English skills serve her well allowing her to perform - bachelor's + master's degree, managerial position in US company, married native English husband, socialises with English speaker friends
          2. not native-speaker English - has accent, noticeably non-native grammatical forms, informal writing
            1. eg tends to omit past tense, make unnecessary shifts past-present "I met him and go out"
              1. = some maturational constraints?
              2. Failed Functional Features Hyp (Hawkins et al) - new interpretable features can be acquires in L2 but new uninterpretable features can't.
                1. X 1 case study can't decide for all
                2. Johnson + Newport - correlational research
                  1. 46 Chinese + Korean people who've learned English as L2 + live in US
                    1. age of arrival: 3-7, 8-10, 11-15, 17-39
                      1. grammatical judgement task - listened to sentence + judged whether grammatically correct. INcluded past tense, plural, 3rd person, determiners, yes/no q's, wh- q's, word order
                        1. age of arrival sig predictor of test success. age of arrival correlated with performance on test - earlier the better. late arrivals perform worse.
                          1. ultimate attainment in L2 strongly correlated with age of acquisition if before 17. No correlation after 17.
                            1. X length of residence min 5yrs - may not be enough for all learners to reach ultimate attainment level
                              1. X test had 276 items - too long to ensure continued concentration. lower scores of older learners may be because lost attention
                            2. NO
                              1. Morgan-Short et al
                                1. widely believed adults can't learn L2 in same way children learn L1, but recent evidence suggests L2 learners CAN come to rely on native-like lang brain mechanisms
                                  1. Type of lang training impacts this
                                  2. Artificial lang
                                    1. longitudinal study
                                      1. whether explicit training (traditional grammar-focuses classroom setting) or implicit training (immersion setting) differently affect neural (electyrophysio ERP) + behavioural (performance) measures of syntactic processing
                                        1. performance of both training groups didn't differ at high/low proficiency.
                                          1. ERP - big differences between group's neural activity at both proficiency levels in response to syntactic violations
                                            1. Explicit training - no sig effects at low proficiency
                                              1. only implicit training -> electrophysio signature typical of natives
                                              2. suggests adult L2 learners can come to rely on native-like lang brain mechanisms but conditions are crucial to attain this
                                              3. Friederici
                                                1. electrophysio evidence that even syntax of lang learned as adult can be processed fully automatically
                                                  1. Trained adults in carefully constructed artificial lang - BROCANTO
                                                    1. trained group vs untrained group (only vocab training)
                                                      1. trained in more natural environment - learned through board game
                                                      2. Measured ERPs whilst listening to syntactic errors + correct control sentences
                                                        1. trained = high accuracy in lexical + syntactic tasks. Control = performed well for lexical but syntactic sig diff - only slightly above chance.
                                                          1. ERP patterns - big group diff
                                                            1. trained = clear amplitude diff between correct/incorrect. Virutally no effect for controls
                                                            2. = strongly suggests effects for trained group related directly to syntactic processing. But not definitive evidence whether it was processing newly acquired syntactic rules or transferred rules from L1
                                                              1. X Argued trained may have transferred German -> artificial. But controlled by 2 grammatical rules not found in German / known lang by ppts
                                                                1. = Must be caused by syntactic processing of newly acquired lang = mastered.
                                                                  1. = supports theory that not just AOA (age similar for ppts) but proficiency level determines amount of cortical overlap in L1 + L2 processing
                                                                    1. = indicates late-learned lang can be processed in native like way, so for L2 learning, maturational hyp version needs to be reconsidered
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