chapter  25
19 Pages

Around and Beyond the Critical Period Hypothesis

ByDAVID SINGLETON, TRINITY COLLEGE, DUBLIN, CARMEN MUÑOZ

The study of age effects in second or additional language (L2) learning has attracted the interest of researchers over many decades. The present survey presents and appraises research relating to the Critical Period Hypothesis (henceforth CPH) as well as a range of recent significant research conducted within a scenario that relies less and less on a single explanatory factor for age-related phenomena in L2 acquisition. The survey highlights a broad array of factors that may underlie the widely attested finding that L2 learners who begin to be exposed to their target language in their early years tend to reach higher levels of L2 proficiency than those who begin as adolescents or adults.