Age and SLA

Caleb A
Mind Map by Caleb A, updated more than 1 year ago
Caleb A
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Some organizational points for Age and SLA midterm question

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Age and SLA
1 Best Age to learn a language
1.1 Ammar, Lightbrown and Spada
1.1.1 Metalinguistic knowledge (whether learned explicitly or implicitly) is typically greater with adolescents than with very young children.
1.1.1.1 A, L and S's article studied 5th and 6th graders
1.1.1.1.1 Those who showed some signs of metalinguistic knowledge were more successful (and faster) at acquiring L2.
1.1.1.2 Singleton also acknowledged that knowledge of "a" language helps in acquisition
1.2 Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL) Digest
1.2.1 Younger learners are more successful in pronunciation than older students; but other aspects of success are not guaranteed
1.3 Ortega
1.3.1 Age may play a role, but it's much more complex than a biological issue; many contextual factors must be accounted for.
1.3.1.1 Singleton would agree.
1.3.1.2 Marinova-Todd would also agree.
1.3.2 Studies by Long suggest that adult learners have an advantage for maybe 1-3 years, but young learners will have a greater long term advantage.
1.3.2.1 A study by Muñoz, however, suggests that younger learner never catch up to the advantage of the older starting learners.
1.4 Conclusion: there is no consensus among researchers. Many, many factors of the learner's context affect the outcome of the success of the acquisition.
2 Primary Issues in age and SLA:
2.1 Information supporting the claim that younger learners are more successful is anecdotal.
2.1.1 Address by a CAL Digest (By Don Snow) paper that gives the 5 myths
2.1.2 Marinova-Todd
2.1.2.1 Argues that studies do not support the claims that adults are unsuccessful at SLA
2.1.2.2 Researchers have made 3 mistakes
2.1.2.2.1 1. Misinterpretation
2.1.2.2.1.1 Speed of young children acquiring L2 quickly is simply anecdotal information
2.1.2.2.2 2. Misattribution
2.1.2.2.2.1 Neurobiological studies have faulty conclusions because of misattributing (incorrectly connecting) the changes that happen in the brain to language learning.
2.1.2.2.3 3. Misemphasis
2.1.2.2.3.1 Research has ignored those adult learners who have sucessfully acquired an L2 and focused primarily on the unsuccessful learners
2.2 Age may very well be related to sucess/rate of SLA; but this CANNOT be confused with biology alone.
2.2.1 Marinova-Todd suggests that age related differences are connected to the "situation of learning" (environmental factors) rather than the "capacity" (biological) of learning
2.2.2 Singleton also affects are more than age related. A "desire" to learn is another factor.
2.2.2.1 Motivation may help or hinder
2.2.2.1.1 Motivation may be different at different ages.
2.2.3 CAL article suggests more than biological issues: also psychological and social--yes, these might be different at different ages
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