The topic of a critical period for language learning is a hotbed of discussion; there is substantial evidence to support the idea that certain elements of language are “easier” (or even critical) for people to learn and master at younger ages, such as syntax and phonology, but the debate rages on as to whether this is evidence of a critical period of overall language learning, and whether the critical period applies to the learning of a second language (Newport, 2002). The implications of such research and assertions are vast: not only for parents of young children, who may want to provide every advantage to their children, but also for young adults and the elderly. Pro Side The idea that language learning is limited by biology is not a new one; Eric Lenneberg introduced the idea and made some then-radical assertions in 1967 (Newport, 2002). Since then, numerous studies have been performed, followed by countless publications, struggling to define and delineate the critical period. E. L. Newport (2002) discusses several of these research studies, pointing out, for example, that neuropsychological technologies, such as fMRIs, indicate that participants who learn their second language after the age of seven demonstrate more divided brain activity than bilingual participants who learned a second language at an earlier age.
For instance, Plunkett (1993, as cited in Ganger & Brent, 2004) suggests that the acceleration results from linguistic advances such as word segmentation which allows children to pick up more words from speech stream; however, there is now a growing disagreement on its existence in all children (Goldfield & Reznick, 1990; Ganger & Brent, 2004). The aim of the present essay is to evaluate the ability of two theories, namely the Artificial Neural Network (ANN) and Dynamical Systems theory (DST), to explain the issues underlying the lexical development and vocabulary spurt. This essay provides an overview of both theories and compares their strengths and weaknesses in their explanation of lexical development supported by empirical evidence. Both ANN and DST were formed in opposition to the symbol system view of cognition (Smith & Samuelson, 2003). Despite acknowledging that some of underlying mechanisms may be innate, they see lexical development as an emergent process resulting from early social interaction and exposure to linguistic input (Poveda & Vellido, 2006).
Studies of Bilateral Visual Fields on Word Recognition Previous research suggests a significant difference in word recognition time between the left and right visual fields, with word recognition and response time of the right visual field significantly faster than the left visual field. The current study investigated bilateral visual fields on word recognition time by means of an online computer program consisting of 55 participants. It was hypothesized that men would respond faster than women, and the right visual field reaction times would be faster than the left. Results indicate that sex had no significant effect on reaction time. However, words presented in the right visual field were responded to significantly faster than words in the left.
Language in Society, 28(4), 555 – 578. Werker, J. F. & Tees, R. C. (2005). Speech perception as a window for understanding plasticity and commitment in language systems of the brain. Developmental psychobiology, 46(3), 233 – 251. Zhang, Y., Kuhl, P. K., Imada, T., Kotani, M., & Tohkura, Y.
Each time a bilingual speaks its brain functions in slightly different ways than that of a monolingual’s. Bilinguals deal with constant dual-language activation as they are able to switch between two sometimes very different languages. The ability to use one language without intrusions from the other language is seen as an important topic of study (Van Assche, Duyck, and Gollan, 2013). However, one of the costs of being bilingual is the reduced exposure to each language. Studies show that both sequential and simultaneous bilinguals score lower on vocabulary measures than monolinguals (Rosselli et al., 200 as cited in Kaushankaya, Blumenfeld and Marian, 2011).
WM involves ‘the temporary storage and manipulation of information’ necessary for the operation of complex cognitive tasks (Hummel & Holyoak 2003); WM therefore is an indicator of our capacity for thinking and for language processing. The present study will be empirically examining the possible relation between WM working memory and L2 vocabulary learning to test the hypothesis that the capacity of WM is correlated with vocabulary learning rate. Background of literature A WM model first proposed by Baddeley and Hitch in 1974 consists of three basic components: the central executive, the phonological loop and the visual/ spatial sketchpad. In 2000 this model was extended with the multimodal episodic buffer. The central executive directs information to the three processes: the phonological loop, the visual/ spatial sketchpad, and the episodic buffer.
(2007). The effect of focused written corrective feedback and language aptitude on ESL learners' acquisition of articles. TESOL Quarterly, 41(2), 255-283. Williams, M., 1948, & Burden, R. L. (1997). Psychology for language teachers: A social constru-ctivist approach.