Second Language Acquisition and the Critical Period Hypothesis: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Second Language Acquisition and the Critical Period Hypothesis

1st Edition

Edited by David Birdsong


196 pages

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Second Language Acquisition and the Critical Period Hypothesis is the only book on the market to provide a diverse collection of perspectives, from experienced researchers, on the role of the Critical Period Hypothesis in second language acquisition. It is widely believed that age effects in both first and second language acquisition are developmental in nature, with native levels of attainment in both to be though possible only if learning began before the closure of a "window of opportunity" – a critical or sensitive period. These seven chapters explore this idea at length, with each contribution acting as an authoritative look at various domains of inquiry in second language acquisition, including syntax, morphology, phonetics/phonology, Universal Grammar, and neurofunctional factors. By presenting readers with an evenly-balanced take on the topic with viewpoints both for and against the Critical Period Hypothesis, this book is the ideal guide to understanding this critical body of research in SLA, for students and researchers in Applied Linguistics and Second Language Acquisition.


"Birdsong's collection of papers describes a waystage--or rather, a series of different waystages on different roads--in research and speculation on the CPH issue. It is a significant publication, and important reading for those who need to keep up-to-date with second language acquisition research."


"In sum, Birdsong's book opens a useful way into a compelling intellectual debate that has important implications for educational policy."

Child Language

Table of Contents

Contents: Preface. D. Birdsong, Introduction: Whys and Why Nots of the Critical Period Hypothesis for Second Language Acquisition. C.M. Weber-Fox, H.J. Neville, Functional Neural Subsystems Are Differentially Affected by Delays in Second Language Immersion: ERP and Behavioral Evidence in Bilinguals. J.R. Hurford, S. Kirby, Co-Evolution of Language Size and the Critical Period. L. Eubank, K.R. Gregg, Critical Periods and (Second) Language Acquisition: Divide et Impera. J.E. Flege, Age of Learning and Second Language Speech. T. Bongaerts, Ultimate Attainment in L2 Pronunciation: The Case of Very Advanced Late L2 Learners. E. Bialystok, K. Hakuta, Confounded Age: Linguistic and Cognitive Factors in Age Differences for Second Language Acquisition.

About the Editor

David Birdsong is Professor of French at the University of Texas at Austin.

About the Series

Second Language Acquisition Research Series

The Second Language Acquisition Research series presents and explores issues bearing directly on theory construction and/or research methods in the study of second language acquisition. Its titles (both authored and edited volumes) provide thorough and timely overviews of high-interest topics, and include key discussions of existing research findings and their implications. A special emphasis of the series is reflected in the monographs dealing with specific data collection methods or instruments.  Each of these monographs addresses the kinds of research questions for which the method/instrument is best suited, offers extended description of its use, and outlines the problems associated with its use. The volumes in this series will be invaluable to students and scholars alike, and perfect for use in courses on research methodology and in individual research.


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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
EDUCATION / Bilingual Education