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Arguments about the critical period hypothesis

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Bley-Vroman, R. (1988). The fundamental character of foreign language learning. In W. Rutherford &M. Sharwood Smith (Eds. ), Grammar and second language teaching: A book of readings (pp. 19-30). In this article the author talks about ten different characteristics of adults who try to learn a second language. One of these characteristics is age and its correlation with the proficiency with which they learn a second language. In this section the author states that it is generally presumed that the proficiency with which an individual can learn a second language is higher during early ages of life.

This article will be used in the research to provide an introduction to the argument of critical point hypothesis. Colombo, J. (1982). The critical period concept: Research, methodology, and theoretical concerns. Psychological Bulletin, 91, 260-275. This article is a discussion of the concept of critical period which is marked by the age of an individual starting from his/her birth till he/she reaches adulthood. The article even discusses various researches regarding the concept of critical period along with issues in theorizing the concept and the methodologies used to perform research regarding the topic.

This article will be used in the argument to define the concept of critical period and to criticize its use in determining the proficiency that individuals attain while learning a second language. Curtiss, S. (1977). Genie: A psycholinguistic study of a modern day “wildchild”. New York: Academic Press. This research focuses on a child who lived in captivation and when she was discovered she lack the ability that the children of her age enjoyed. The research even focuses on the critical period hypothesis and the researchers were able to support the critical period hypothesis with the case of Genie.

This study will be used to provide example in support of for the case of existence of a critical period which is necessary for the development of children. Flege, J. E., Frieda, A. M., & Nozawa, T. (1997). Amount of native-language (L1) use affects the pronunciation of an L2. Journal of Phonetics, 25, 169-186. The purpose of this study was to identify the impact of use of native language on an individual’s ability to learn a second language.

The researchers were able to identify that second language learners are unable to develop nativelike proficiency even after being exposed to a second language for more than 34 years. The study even identified that if an individual is exposed to higher degree of native language, he/she fails in developing the accent of a foreign language.

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