This article was based on a doctoral dissertation for the Department of Bilingual Education, New York University, 1980 (unpublished), which was supported in part by an E.S.E.A. Title VII Graduate Fellowship from the United States Department of Health, Education and Welfare (Grants No. G 007603258, G 007700569, G 007700509). Special thanks are due to Professor Thomas Scovel for his helpful comments on the original draft of this paper.
THE SENSITIVE PERIOD FOR THE ACQUISITION OF SYNTAX IN A SECOND LANGUAGE 1
Article first published online: 27 OCT 2006
© 1980 Language Learning Research Club, University of Michigan
Volume 30, Issue 2, pages 449–468, December 1980
How to Cite
Patkowski, M. S. (1980), THE SENSITIVE PERIOD FOR THE ACQUISITION OF SYNTAX IN A SECOND LANGUAGE . Language Learning, 30: 449–468. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-1770.1980.tb00328.x
- Issue published online: 27 OCT 2006
- Article first published online: 27 OCT 2006
This research tested the hypothesis that learners whose exposure to a second language begins before the age of 15 years achieve higher syntactic proficiency in the target language than adult learners. Sixty-seven immigrants who had come to the United States at various ages and who had resided in this country for various periods of time were tested for syntactic proficiency in English and were also administered a questionnaire to gather information concerning practice and instructional variables. Age at arrival was found to be a strong predictor of syntactic proficiency while other independent variables had very little effect. The results were interpreted as providing support for the hypothesis of an age related limitation on the ability to acquire full command of syntax in a second language.