The Critical Period Hypothesis For Language Learning Essay

1020 Words Oct 20th, 2014 null Page
Discuss the Critical Period Hypothesis: its basis, the evidence supporting it/calling it into question, the implications for language learning.

George Fowler

First 1000 word submission

Word Count: 992

Discuss the Critical Period Hypothesis: its basis, the evidence supporting it/calling it into question, the implications for language learning.

Introduction:

The Critical Period Hypothesis for language was popularised by Eric Lenneberg (1967) upon the foundations laid by neurologist Wilder Penfield and colleague and Lamar Roberts (1959). It is the subject of a linguistic debate over the extent to which language acquisition is biologically linked to age. As defined by Reber and Reber (2001), the critical period is, 'a period of time during which an organism is optimally ready for the acquisition of specific responses’. This essay will consider the evidence, both supporting and contesting the Critical Period Hypothesis as well as how the relative findings of these studies implicate language learning. It shall also endeavour to engage with alternative suggestions as the existence of a critical period for learning language divides linguists, and many support a Sensitive Period of cognitive development over a critical cut of point. This essay will evaluate the evidence used to both support and challenge this hypothesis and ultimately argue for the existence of a form of the Critical Period Hypothesis, perhaps better called a sensitive…

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