Age, Rate and Eventual Attainment in Second Language Acquisition

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Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages, Inc. (TESOL)

Age, Rate and Eventual Attainment in Second Language Acquisition Author(s): Stephen D. Krashen, Michael A. Long and Robin C. Scarcella Reviewed work(s): Source: TESOL Quarterly, Vol. 13, No. 4 (Dec., 1979), pp. 573-582 Published by: Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages, Inc. (TESOL) Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3586451 . Accessed: 09/01/2013 08:48 Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at . http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp

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TESOL QUARTERLY Vol. 13, No. 4 1979 December

Attainment Second in Age,Rate and Eventual LanguageAcquisition* MichaelA. Long,and RobinC. Scarcella StephenD. Krashen, This paper presents evidencefor three generalizations the concerning betweenage, rate,and eventualattainment second language in relationship acquisition: and (1) Adultsproceedthrough earlystagesof syntactic morphological thanchildren faster are (wheretimeand exposure held development constant). thanyounger children (2) Older children acquirefaster (again, in early and wheretimeand stagesof morphological syntactic development are exposure held constant). who begin naturalexposure second languagesduring to (3) Acquirers childhood achievehigher secondlanguageproficiency than generally thosebeginning adults. as While recentresearch have claimedto be counter the hypothesis to reports thatthereis a critical the periodforlanguageacquisition, availableliterature is consistent withthe threegeneralizations above. presented One popular belief about second language acquisition is that younger-isbetter,that younger acquirers are better at second language acquisition than older acquirers. Recently,certain research reportsclaim to counter this early on sensitivity hypothesis;several of these papers imply that the literature age and language acquisition is inconsistent, some showing older, others showing to youngerperformers be superior.(See Walburg,Hase and PinzurRasher 1978, is thatthe McLaughlin 1977.) The purpose of thisbriefcomment to demonstrate available literature consistent is with three generalizations the relaconcerning in tionshipbetween age, rate, and eventual attainment second language acquisition: 1) Adults proceed throughearly stages of syntacticand morphological development faster than children (where time and exposure are held constant)l; 2) Older children acquire faster than younger children (again, in early stages of syntacticand morphologicaldevelopmentwhere time and exposure are held constant);2 and 3) Acquirers who begin natural exposure to * We thank on Eugene J. Briire forhelpfulcomments thisarticle. Mr. Krashen and Ms. Scarcella are affiliated with the Linguistics at Department the of California. University Southern Mr. Long is affiliated withtheEnglishDepartment, of Los University California, Angeles. for or will not (e.g., neurological, 1Explanations these relationships cognitive affective) be discussedhere.

2 Here, we do not distinguish "learn" and "acquire," makingno claim as to whether consciouslanguagelearning unconscious or are language acquisition involved.

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TESOL Quarterly

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