The age factor in aural perception in an instructed setting: implications for secondary teaching
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AutorCollado Moreno, Cristina
DepartamentoUniversidad de Granada. Departamento de Filología Inglesa
Second language acquisitionAdquisición de segundas lenguasAge factorFactor edadCritical periodperiodo críticoAural percepcionPercepción auditivaInstructed settingsEntorno docenteAge of onsetEdad de exposiciónLength of exposureDuración de exposiciónPhonologyFonología
PatrocinadorUniversidad de Granada. Máster Universitario de Educación Secundaria Obligatoria y Bachillerato, Formación Profesional y Enseñanza de Idiomas. Trabajo Fin de Máster.
It is commonly believed that the age at which second language learning begins plays a key role on learner’s L2 proficiency. Likewise it is often argued that the younger second language acquisition starts, the better. Additionally, it is often claimed that some foreign language skills can only be successfully acquired before a certain age, such as native aural perception. However, recent studies in instructed settings suggest that an early start does not account for differences in L2 proficiency. Instead, age of testing and length of exposure are believed to explain the differences in learners’ performance. This study was set to determine if age of onset, age of testing and length of exposure do actually have an effect upon second language acquisition in formal settings in terms of aural perception and discrimination. Two different analyses have been carried out in order to determine age effects upon aural L2 performance. On the one hand, a comparison of L2 aural performance was conducted between two groups with the same length of exposure but with a difference of two years in both their age of onset and their age of testing. On the other hand, a correlation was carried out between aural perception and discrimination proficiency and age of onset, age of testing and length of exposure (respectively). The results of this study, in line with previous research, suggest that age of testing and -to a lesser extent- length of exposure explain differences in learners’ proficiency in instructed settings. The implications of such findings for ELT are discussed at the end of this project.