Is there a critical period for grammatical features? Foucart et al

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Is there a critical period for grammatical features? Foucart et al
  1. French has grammatical gender system
    1. Natives systematically acquire grammatical knowledge of gender assignment + rules at young age - affects syntactic processing
    2. English relies on semantic gender + agreement more limited to pronouns
      1. So can English natives acquire grammatical gender when learning French in native-like manner?
      2. NO
        1. Schwartz + Sprouse - full transfer full access model
          1. During initial stages of L2 acquisition, rep of grammatical features based on those in L1. Throughout life span, learners have access to underlying UG.
            1. = new, even uninterpretable features can be native-like acquired any age
        2. YES
          1. Several observational studies concluded that after critical period, no longer able to acquire abstract grammatical features not in their L1
            1. Failed Functional Features Hypothesis - Hawkins et al
              1. new interpretable features can be acquired, new uninterpretable features can't. Patty example.
            2. Compared French natives to English-French adult learners - proficiency high enough for learning French at uni
              1. Age at start of instruction 10-18
              2. ERP data recorded + eye movements by electrodes, and questionnaire
                1. questionnaire - natives rejected more sentences with gender violations (95%) than L2 learners (40%)
                2. L2 learners elicited P600 effect similar to native's but reduced amplitude
                  1. = highly proficient L2 learners can reach native-like processing levels even if learned L2 late in life
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