Standard Article

Critical Period

  1. Kenneth Hyltenstam

Published Online: 5 NOV 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9781405198431.wbeal0285

The Encyclopedia of Applied Linguistics

How to Cite

Hyltenstam, K. 2012. Critical Period. The Encyclopedia of Applied Linguistics. .

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 5 NOV 2012


The scholarly discussion on the notion of a critical period (CP) for language acquisition dates back to the 1950s and 1960s, when first Wilder Penfield and Lamar Roberts (1959) and later Eric Lenneberg (1967) suggested that differences in the outcomes of child and adult second language acquisition most likely had a biological basis.


  • bilingualism;
  • first language acquisition;
  • neurolinguistics;
  • psycholinguistics;
  • second language acquisition;
  • child language