From my experience in learning English in a great figure of mixed-age categories at Ho Chi Minh City University of Technology foreign linguistic communication centre, I have received wholly contrasting feedback from my pupils at the terminal of every class. By using the same instruction method when I work with both immature scholars and grownup scholars, I discover a large spread in the consequence of their acquisition. In the pronunciation subdivision, younger scholars get successfully and efficaciously while older scholars seem to neglect in larning English sounds. From what I observe, most of immature scholars in my schoolroom have native-like pronunciation. In contrast, the complexness of English phonological system leads to adult ‘s failure in acquiring phonemics truth when they have to contend with many non-existent sounds in their female parent lingua. Unlike pronunciation, the success in larning vocabulary and grammar is in a contrary order. Adults find it easy to understand and utilize about complicated vocabulary every bit good as grammar constructions whereas immature scholars frequently make errors when larning new words and making grammar exercisings. Indeed, older scholars feel at easiness with most English grammar points while younger scholars claim that vocabulary and grammar are beyond their range. These differences lead me to the admiration whether or non there is a correlativity between age and 2nd linguistic communication acquisition ( SLA ) . Hence, my paper examines the function of age in SLA in footings of the rate and success of scholars ‘ lingual cognition. From the account of the consequence of age, I suggest some deductions to assist non merely immature scholars but besides older scholars to get their linguistic communication cognition absolutely.
“ SLA refers to the procedure of acquisition of persons and groups who are larning a linguistic communication subsequent to larning their first and that linguistic communication ” ( Saville-troike, 2006, p. 3 ) . In larning a 2nd linguistic communication, a figure of variables influence pupils ‘ existent acquisition including age, personality, motive, larning manner, group kineticss, aptitude, attitude to the instructor and class stuffs and so on. Among them, age – the most often discussed factor – has been paid much attending by many linguists. Countless surveies and researches have late been conducted on this subject in order to cognize how age affects 2nd linguistic communication acquisition It is a common belief that kids are more successful L2 scholars than grownups. Meanwhile, many lingual research workers argue that the older are better. However, the belief about SLA in different ages is really ambiguous. Saville-Troike ( 2006 ) explained this contention in his survey.
Some surveies define success as initial rate of larning where older scholars have an advantage while other surveies define it as ultimate accomplishment where scholars who are introduced to the L2 in childhood so do look to hold an border. Besides, some surveies define success in footings of how close the scholar ‘s pronunciation is to a native talker ‘s where kids are superior to grownups, others in footings of how closely a scholar approximates native grammaticality judgements where older scholars are better than younger scholars ( p. 82 )
In footings of the consequence of age on the rate of SLA, harmonizing to Ekstrand ( 1976 ) , Snow and Hoefnagel-Hohle ( 1978 ) and Snow ( 1983 ) , in realistic state of affairss, “ kids usually have a slower rate of development in the mark linguistic communication and make non execute every bit good as older scholars in the short term, but they rather frequently surpass older scholars in the long tally ” ( as cited in Miralpeix, 2007, p. 62 ) . Undoubtedly, younger scholars are better at SLA in the long tally while older scholars are better at larning linguistic communications in the short tally.
Refering grammar and glossary, Krashen, Long and Scarcella ‘s research paper pointed out that “ grownups proceed through early phases of syntactic and morphological development faster than kids ” ( p. 573 ) . In comparing with younger scholars, older scholars have an initial advantage in the rate of SLA when they deal with a complicated system of sentence structure every bit good as morphology. Ellis ( 1985 ) supported advantages of older scholars that when we take the rate into consideration, “ older scholars are better so younger scholars as they can make higher proficiency degrees if scholars at assorted ages are matched harmonizing to the sum of clip they are supposed to the mark linguistic communication ” ( p. 105 ) .
However, other surveies suggest that grownups do non do advancement every bit quickly as kids when geting pronunciation. Harmonizing to Harmer ( 2007 ) , “ kids who learn a new linguistic communication early have a installation with pronunciation which is denied by older scholars ” ( p. 81 ) . Besides, Cochrane ( 1980 ) gave a clear illustration to this belief.
He investigated the ability of 54 Nipponese kids and 24 grownups to know apart /r/ and /l/ . The mean length of realistic exposure was calculated as 245 hours for the grownups and 193 hours for the kids ( i.e. comparatively small ) . The kids outperformed the grownups. ( as cited in Ellis, 1994, p.486 )
In general, grownups seem to be able to get grammar every bit good as lexis more rapidly than kids and frailty versa in the field of pronunciation.
Where success is concerned, it goes without stating that “ the longer the exposure to the L2, the more native-like L2 proficiency becomes ” ( Ellis, 1985, p. 106 ) . Actually, Ehrman and Oxford ( 1995 ) pointed out “ younger scholars are more likely to achieve eloquence and native-like pronunciation, while older scholars have an advantage in understanding the grammatical system and in conveying greater ‘world cognition ‘ to the linguistic communication larning context ” ( p. 68 ) . Hence, it is likely that younger scholars will articulate in a more natural manner than older scholars. Most immature persons who begin their surveies of the L2 at the early age make accomplish native-like eloquence. The earlier they start the more professional at pronunciation they become. Supporters of this belief claim that kids are able to larn 2nd linguistic communication pronunciation easy, automatically, effortlessly and derive an identical frequence degree from that of native talkers. As Ellis ( 1994 ) indicated, “ scholars who start as kids achieve more native-like speech pattern than those who start as striplings and grownups ” ( p. 489 ) . Oyama ( 1976 ) besides supported the younger-is-better impression in her probe of 60 male immigrants settling down in USA at assorted ages from 6 to 20. She found that the youngest reachings performed in the same scope as native-speakers control ( as cited in Ellis, 1994, p. 489 ) .
Conversely, some grownup scholars may win in geting “ native degrees of grammatical truth in full lingual competency ” ( Ellis, 1994, p. 492 ) . When the success of 2nd linguistic communication lexical acquisition, “ younger scholars do non execute every bit good as older scholars in the short term ” ( Munoz, 2006, p. 90 ) . Snow and Hoefnagel-Hohle ( 1978 ) conducted a research in the Netherlands with English scholars of Dutch and so showed that “ adolescent and big scholars ‘ consequences in the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test were better than those of the younger scholars. ” ( as cited in Munoz, 2006, p. 90 )
We clearly see that there is a great difference in the rate and success of SLA between grownup scholars and immature scholars in the aforesaid empirical researches. Hence, the inquiry “ Why do the contrasting consequences be? ” is raised. When we know the causes we will cognize how to cover with the jobs both younger and older scholars encounter in SLA. A figure of surveies in the visible radiation of explicating the function of age in SLA point out that neurological, cognitive and affectional factors account for this issue.
Many longitudinal and cross-sectional researches assert that the ability to larn a foreign linguistic communication is biologically linked to age. The biological factor is supported by the Critical Period Hypothesis which claims that “ scholars past the age of pubescence are in all chance unable to accomplish native-like pronunciation in any instance ” ( Saville-Troike, 2006, p. 142 ) . There is a clip when linguistic communication acquisition is easy and complete. However, beyond that clip SLA is hard and about uncomplete. If SLA takes topographic point during that period, in all likeliness scholars will accomplish native-speaker ability. That is why Pujol ( 2008 ) divided the hypothesis into two versions. “ The strong version is that linguistic communication must be learned by pubescence or it will be ne’er learned from subsequent exposure ; the weak version is that after puberty linguistic communication acquisition will be more hard and uncomplete ” ( p. 13 ) . Assorted surveies about the critical period hypothesis suggest that younger scholars are superior to older scholars as they get a foreign linguistic communication before the pubescence. Penfield and Robert ‘s ( 1959 ) survey explained why it is easier to larn the mark linguistic communication within the first 10 old ages of life.
During this period the encephalon retains malleability, but with the oncoming of the pubescence this malleability begins to vanish. We suggested that this was the consequence of the lateralisation of the linguistic communication map in the left hemisphere of the encephalon. That is, the neurological capacity for understanding and bring forthing linguistic communication, which ab initio involves both hemispheres of the encephalon, is easy concentrated in the left hemisphere for most people ( as cited in Ellis, 1985, p. 107 ) .
With respect to pronunciation acquisition, Seliger ( 1978 ) indicated that there are many “ critical periods for different facets of linguistic communication. The period during which a native speech pattern is easy acquirable appears to stop sooner than the period regulating the acquisition of a native grammar ” ( as cited in Ellis, 1994, p. 492 ) . Actually, scholars who begin analyzing L2 as grownups are improbable to hold native-speaker competency in pronunciation.
Not merely neurolinguistic surveies but besides affectional researches have been carried out to explicate that kids are better than grownups. As Brown ( 1980b ) proposed, “ SLA is related to phases of socialization including initial exhilaration and euphory, civilization daze, civilization emphasis and assimilation ” ( as cited in Ellis, 1985, p. 109 ) . The ability of scholar to associate and react easy to the foreign linguistic communication civilization strongly determines the success of SLA. Schumann came to conclusion that “ the scholar will get the 2nd linguistic communication merely to the grade that he acculturates ” ( n.d. , p. 29 ) . Valdes ( 1986 ) offered a more persuasive history of the impression “ the younger, the better ” .
A immature kid, because he has non built up old ages and old ages of cultural-bound position and position of himself, has fewer perspective filter to readapt, and hence moves through phases of socialization more rapidly, and of class acquires languages more rapidly. ( as cited in Tallapessy, n.d. , p. 16 )
At the early age, immature scholars have socio-cultural resiliency as they are much less culture-bound than older scholars. Thankss to their strong resilience, kids can get the better of phases of socialization rapidly and so get the mark linguistic communication quickly. In add-on, as Ellis concluded, “ kid scholars are more strongly motivated to pass on with native talkers and to incorporate culturally. Besides, kid scholars are less witting and hence suffer less from anxiousness about pass oning in an L2 ” ( 1994, p. 494 ) . They learn a foreign linguistic communication because of the demand to be accepted by the native community. That is why most of younger scholars can successfully accomplish native-like pronunciation as they are exposed to the first linguistic communication environment.
Besides the biological and emotional factors aforementioned, assorted cognitive abilities between younger scholars and older scholars lead to their differences in SLA. Leaver, Ehrman and Shekhtman ( 2005 ) defined knowledge as “ believing. There are many procedures involved in thought, and all of them are considered portion of knowledge. Some illustrations are detecting, paying attending, doing conjectures and hypotheses, supervising what you say, construing what you read or hear, and so on ” ( p. 38 ) . Cognitive schemes enable the pupils ‘ believing procedure to be alone. This singularity is called high degree control i.e. consciousness. Ellis ( 1985 ) noted that “ older scholars can larn about the linguistic communication by consciously analyzing lingual regulations and use these regulations when they use the linguistic communication whereas younger kids consider linguistic communication as a tool for showing significance ” ( p. 108 ) . Harmonizing to Halliday ( 1973 ) , “ the immature kid responds non so much to what linguistic communication is every bit to what it does ” ( as cited in Ellis, 1985, p. 108 ) . Additionally, Rosansky ( 1975 ) believed that L2 development can take topographic point in two different ways. “ While the immature kid sees merely similarities, lacks flexible thought and is egoistic older scholars are predisposed to acknowledge both common and different characteristics about the linguistic communication, to believe flexibly and to go progressively de-centered ” ( as cited in Ellis, 1985, p. 108 ) . Intelligibly, most societal attitudes towards the usage of a certain linguistic communication in younger scholars have non been developed, Furthermore, at the early age, kids frequently lack meta-awareness, which consequences in their unfastened knowledge of a new linguistic communication. Unlike kids, older scholars own a strong meta-awareness and keep societal attitudes towards the mark linguistic communication. That is the ground why Ellis ( 1994 ) pointed out that “ grownups possess more to the full developed cognitive accomplishments, which enable them to use themselves studiedly to the undertaking of larning a L2 ” ( p. 493 ) . Thus they will see more dialogue of significance and better input by utilizing general and inductive acquisition abilities.
Actually, assorted surveies and researches show that grownups are better linguistic communication scholars because they have non merely better cognitive accomplishments but a better memory every bit good. Whenever they deal with sentence structure and morphology system they will memorise them rapidly and easy. Furthermore, many instructors normally notice that grownups have a longer concentration span than kids. Children can non concentrate on certain activities every bit long as grownups. As Hermar explained, “ older scholars do exhibit noticeable high quality because they tend to be more self-restraining. ” ( 2007, p. 288 )
From the analysis of the strong correlativity between age and SLA, I clearly realize that my learning methodological analysis should be assorted when I work with younger scholars and older scholars although I carry out the same lesson about pronunciation, grammar or vocabulary. With the same content, I should alter my learning manner in order to accommodate pupils of different ages.
On the footing of the theoretical model, younger scholars are more apprehensible so older scholars in the procedure of geting native-like pronunciation. The former are non strongly affected by old wonts of their female parent lingua whereas the latter find it hard to organize new wonts of L2 because of the influence of the first linguistic communication. Nevertheless, grownups have higher consciousness than kids. As a consequence, when I teach pronunciation I normally use some sorts of expressed account to enable grownups to utilize their critical thought. For sound formation, I use a study of oral cavity to depict the pronunciation of sound in footings of lips, lingua, dentition, etc. For illustration, when I teach the mark sound /I?/ , I will demo the undermentioned image and give the description. In order to articulate it, you should set your lingua between your dentitions. Then blow out air between your lingua and your top dentition. Explicit account will be followed by presentation, imitation and pattern.
( Baker, 2003, P. 133 )
Furthermore, older scholars feel at easiness with separating two similar sounds thanks to their problem-solving endowment. That is why I consider minimum braces as a powerful tool to pull their attending to differences among some English sounds. Let ‘s take the vowel /I/ as an illustration. First, I ask them to state the sound /i: / by opening the oral cavity a small and lengthening it. Then open the oral cavity a little more to do the sound /I/ . Contrasting two apparently similar sounds will assist grownups bring forth the sounds more accurately.
( Baker, 2003, P. 6 )
On the contrary, when I teach kids pronunciation, I overuse imitation and repeat with a theoretical account picture cartridge holder of English sounds. As you know, kids are speedy at copying a certain sound even when the sound does non be in their female parent lingua. As a consequence, I frequently use cartridge holders from the plan “ English have a spell ” in which a indigen talker “ Professor Say It ” will articulate the mark sound easy plenty for immature kids to copy. Because the lector in the cartridge holder has a good sense of wit to add merriment to pronunciation, I find it utile particularly when I work with younger scholars.
As I know both kids and grownups suffer a batch from such deadening pronunciation lessons, I ever think of some games to elicit pupils ‘ involvement and allow for them relax during the lesson. They will non hold a feeling of enduring from linguistic communication acquisition. “ Who is a poet? ” is a common game in my instruction pronunciation. I ask my pupils ( intermediate degree ) to do a verse form with the last word incorporating the mark sound. I will get down with the sentence “ Jim has a married woman ” ( the diphthong /ai/ is the aim of my lesson ) . Then my pupils make a verse form like this.
Jim has a married woman
She is really nice
She is merely 25
She has large eyes
They have a happy life
But Jim all of a sudden died
Then she ends her life
They ne’er say adieus
Wish them happy life
In the Eden
In respect to learning grammar, “ three really most of import beginnings of involvement for kids in the schoolroom are images, narratives and games to heighten immature scholars ‘ intrinsic motive ” ( Ur, 1996, p. 288 ) . Hence, when learning my younger scholars I use a great figure of images to lend towards their involvement in larning procedure. As a consequence of kids ‘s low cognitive capableness, I conduct mechanical drills, gap-fills, and sentence transmutations to familiarise them with the construction and assist them hold the assurance to utilize it in a controlled environment. These undertakings can be made into games through which they can acquire enjoyment, merriment and pleasance. For case, I ask my immature kids ( Let ‘s travel ) to acknowledge verbs of past tense in footings of regular 1s and irregular 1s by taging them with different colourss as kids are acute on colourising really much. First, I set the regulation “ regular verbs = green, irregular verbs = blue ” . Second, I divide the category foremost into squads and so demo them sentences one by one. In the terminal, the group which can acquire the most right replies is the victor.
Conversely, so as to do grownups learn constructions exhaustively and bring forth right, I use a sequence of activities from accuracy-oriented exercisings in the beginning to fluency undertakings for the free usage of the grammar in a certain context in the terminal. As Ur ( 1996 ) suggested, there are “ seven types of grammar pattern like consciousness, controlled drills, meaningful drills, guided, intending pattern, free sentence composing, discourse composing and free discourse ” ( p. 84 ) . These sorts of activities focus chiefly on both signifier and significance pattern with the purpose of advancing grownup ‘s cognitive accomplishment and self-denial.
In footings of vocabulary, I consider ocular AIDSs a utile artefact to convey the significance of the new word when I teach younger scholars vocabulary points. I put a batch of attempts in fixing the images every bit good as concrete objects for my immature kids to larn efficaciously as what we hear, we forget ; what we see, we remember. In contrast, older scholars are provided with concise accounts, elaborate descriptions, opposite word, equivalent word, subordinate or co-hyponyms whenever they study vocabulary points. Another difference in my vocabulary instruction between kids and grownups is that I draw the former ‘s attending to the signifier, significance, spelling and grammar of a new word while I further present the latter the indication, intension and rightness of a vocabulary point.
In short, we can clearly see that age differences have a strong influence on SLA between younger scholars and older scholars. While kids who start to larn a linguistic communication at the early age have a installation with the pronunciation while grownups possess high cognitive abilities which help them profit from abstract linguistic communication learning attacks. We can leap to conclusion that an early start to foreign linguistic communication acquisition is likely to take to better long-run consequences. Start every bit early as you can. Furthermore, the age of pupils is a major factor in our determination about what and how to learn. Students of different ages will hold different advantages and larning manners in geting L2 lingual cognition. As instructors, we should cognize their strength and failing to steer them analyze more expeditiously and efficaciously. Thankss to this paper, I know I should set my learning attack in a manner more flexible and appropriate to pupils of assorted ages, therefore I can be a better linguistic communication teacher. In this manner, I should guarantee that my stuffs and undertakings are age-appropriate so that all persons can larn best regardless of being immature and old.