Critical Period Hypothesis

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When acquiring or learning a language, everyone can store and map information in their minds differently, all depending on a number of factors. This essay will explore how we best store language knowledge in our minds, and discuss differences in who can store, or acquire a language more easily, adults or children. Language knowledge is best stored and recalled from our minds because of a number of many comprehensive theories: from our neurobiological connections; behaviorally; our innate capacity to learn or acquire a language; the debated concepts of nature versus nurture; our environment; and our social interactions.
Hundreds of studies of how the brain develops, processes, organizes, connects, stores and retrieves language have
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They can grasp languages easily because their cortex is more elastic than that of adult learners. (Its counterpart, the “Frozen Brain Hypothesis”, suggests that it’s nearly impossible to attain this same fluency as an adult). The Critical Period Hypothesis has been debated by many researchers in recent years and controversial, due to its evidence or lack there of (Geneses, 1981; Harley, 1989; Newport, 1990). The evidence to support the critical period has been disputed and the counter argument made that distinctions in the rate of second language acquisition may reflect psychological and social factors, rather than biological factors that favor child learners.
Nevertheless, experimental studies in which children have been compared to adults in learning a second language has often established that adolescents and adults perform much better than young children under controlled circumstances. Even when the method of teaching appears to favor learning in children, they have performed less well compared to adolescents and adults (e.g., Asher & Price,
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This imitation is the commonality in which both children and adults store their language knowledge in their minds. While imitating adults may be paying more attention to grammar, children will be paying attention to meaning of the utterances they hear. Children usually learn by mimicking those around them such as parents, guardians and teachers, whereas adults often imitate the idioms, accent and pronunciation of native speakers, whether in class or through movies and books. Additionally, both children and adults apply meaning to what they are learning in their minds. Adults often relate to their past experiences and existing knowledge they have pre conceived of the second language they are learning; allowing them to relate to their second language by transferring knowledge back from their first language. Although it is known that children often acquire language through automatic repetition and mimicry, this imitation should not discount their purpose and meaning when acquiring a second language. The knowledge they acquire that is stored in their minds can be accessed anytime and this cognitive capability allows for meaningful acquisition of language
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