wide range of readers. By its balance of competing views, the book should allow people to judge for themselves which arguments and what data are most compelling, thereby enabling an informed decision on the merits of the CPH-L2A.
I felt it was important to compile recent and largely unpublished research, and to expedite its publication. In this respect as well, the volume has inherent appeal to serious researchers and students of agerelated linguistic development and the limits of bilingualism. Consequently, it is tempting to bill the collection of papers in this book as "state of the art." However, it would be presumptuous to maintain that, for this particular issue, there is a "state" of intellectual discourse. In this area of vigorous research and debate, the discourse is almost too fluid to pin down. This is not the first time the CPH-L2A has been visited, nor will it be the last.
There are dozens of individuals who have pushed the envelope of critical period inquiry. Were the world a perfect place, they would all be contributors to this volume. Reducing the number was not easy, and if there are conspicuous absences, it is the judgment of the editor alone that should be faulted. (At least it can be safely said that I didn't invite just my old buddies. Many of the people I met for the first time in Finland, and others I have yet to lay eyes on.)
I am grateful to AILA for providing a forum for most of these papers. The session was organized under the auspices of the Scientific Commission for Second Language Acquisition, for which I was Chair during the period in which the symposium took place.
I wish to acknowledge the kind people who assisted with the preparation of the camera-ready copy, and who graciously put up with me during frustrating times: Judy Birdsong, Heather Butler, Sylvia Grove, and Christian Jennings.
My thanks extend to the staff at Lawrence Erlbaum Associates (LEA), for their consummate professionalism, their meticulousness, and for their patience as I barraged them with questions.
Friends Susan Gass and Jacquelyn Schachter, editors of the LEA series in which this work appears, have been supportive throughout the development of the project. Thank you both.
Finally, with great earnestness I applaud the contributors to the volume for their reasonableness and good cheer. These fine scholars are also fine human beings.
-- David Birdsong