Second Language Acquisition and the Critical Period Hypothesis

By David Birdsong | Go to book overview

is constrained by maturational changes, even in early childhood. Additionally, our results are compatible, at least in part, with aspects of Lenneberg's ( 1967) original hypothesis that puberty may mark a significant point in language learning capacity and neural reorganizational capabilities. The maturational constraints we observed were most profound for the bilinguals who learned their second language after puberty. These findings contribute to our understanding of the dynamics of the development of functional neural subsystems for language and carry implications for the design and timing of programs for language education and habilitation.


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Mayberry, R. I., & Eichen, E. B. ( 1991). The long-lasting advantage of learning sign language in childhood: Another look at the critical

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