The misunderstood variable: Age effects as a function of type of instruction
PDF

Keywords

second language learning
age effects in L2
input effects on L2
immersion
CLIL

How to Cite

Pfenninger, S. E. (2014). The misunderstood variable: Age effects as a function of type of instruction. Studies in Second Language Learning and Teaching, 4(3), 529–556. https://doi.org/10.14746/ssllt.2014.4.3.8

Abstract

This study was designed to investigate the effects of age of onset and type of instruction on ultimate EFL attainment at the end of the period of normal schooling in Switzerland, measured in terms of written fluency, complexity, morphosyntactic accuracy, vocabulary size, and listening skills. Data were gathered from four groups of 18-year-old Swiss German learners of English: 50 were early starters who had attended an immersion (CLIL) program in elementary school and who continued CLIL in secondary school (EARLY CLIL), 50 had followed the same elementary school program but then received traditional EFL instruction after elementary school (EARLY MIX), 50 were late starters who began learning English immersively in secondary school, (LATE CLIL), while the other 50 attended a traditional EFL program in secondary school (LATE NON-CLIL). Results show that age of onset alone does not seem to be the distinguishing variable since early introduction of English in elementary school did not result in a higher level of roficiency when exposure to the language was limited to a few hours of class per week. The performance of the EARLY MIX participants was equaled and in certain areas significantly surpassed by the other groups, despite the additional five years of English study they had had in elementary school. The best results were found when early CLIL instruction was followed up by the use of English as an additional language of instruction in secondary school (EARLY CLIL group), which confirms the link between young starting age, implicit learning and long and massive exposure.

https://doi.org/10.14746/ssllt.2014.4.3.8
PDF

References

Bialystok, E. (1981). The role of conscious strategies in second language proficiency. The Modern Language Journal, 65, 24-35. doi:10.1111/j.1540-4781.1981.tb00949.x

Bialystok, E. (1997). The structure of age. In search of barriers to second language acquisition. Second Language Research, 13, 116-37. doi:10.1191/026765897677670241

Birdsong, D., & Molis, M. (2001). On the evidence for maturational constraints in second language acquisition. Journal of Memory and Language, 44(2), 235-249. doi:10.1006/jmla.2000.2750

Bruton, A. (2011). Is CLIL so beneficial, or just selective? Re-evaluating some of the research. System, 39, 523-532.

Bürgi, H. (2007). Im Sprachbad: Besseres Englisch durch Immersion. Eine Evaluation Zweisprachiger Ausbildungsgänge an drei Kantonalen Gymnasien in der Schweiz. Bern: Hep.

Cenoz, J. (2009). Towards multilingual education: Basque educational research in international perspective. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.

Cenoz, J., & Jessner, U. (2009). The study of multilingualism in educational contexts. In L. Aronin & B. Hufeisen (Eds.), The exploration of multilingualism (pp. 121-138). Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.

Cenoz, J., Genesee, F., & Gorter, D. (2014). Critical analysis of CLIL: Taking stock and looking forward. Applied Linguistics, 35(3), 243-262. doi:10.1093/applin/amt011

Coxhead, A. (2000). A new academic word list. TESOL Quarterly, 34, 213-38. doi:10.2307/3587951

Cummins, J., & Swain, M. (1986). Bilingualism in education. London: Longman.

De Graaff, R., & Housen, A. (2009). Investigating effects and effectiveness of L2 instruction. In M. Long & C. Doughty (Eds.), The handbook of language teaching (pp. 726-753). Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.

DeKeyser, R. M. (2000). The robustness of critical period effects in second language acquisition. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 22(4), 499-533. Retrieved from http://ruccs.rutgers.edu/~karin/550.READINGS/SYNTAX/CRITICAL.PERIOD/DeKeyser.pdf

DeKeyser, R. M., & Larson-Hall, J. (2005). What does the Critical Period really mean? In J. Kroll & A. M. B. de Groot (Eds.), Handbook of bilingualism: Psycholinguistic approaches (pp. 88-108). New York: Oxford University Press.

DeKeyser, R. M., Alfi-Shabtay, I., & Ravid, D. (2010). Cross-linguistic evidence for the nature of age effects in second language acquisition. Applied Psycholinguistics, 31, 413-438. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0142716410000056

Dörnyei, Z. (2005). The psychology of the language learner: Individual differences in second language acquisition. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Dörnyei, Z. (2009). The psychology of second language acquisition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Dörnyei, Z., & Ushioda, E. (Eds.). (2009). Motivation, language identity and the L2 self. Bristol: Multilingual Matters.

Ekstrand, L. H. (1977). Social and individual frame factors in L2 learning comparative aspects. In T. Skutnabb-Kangas (Ed.), Papers from the First Nordic Conference on Bilingualism. Helsingfors: Universitetet.

Ellis, N. (2002). Frequency effects in language processing: A review with implications for theories of implicit and explicit language acquisition. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 24(2), 141-188. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0272263102002024

Ellis, R. (2005). Principles of instructed language learning. System, 33(2), 209- 224. doi:10.1016/j.system.2004.12.006

Ellis, R., & Barkhuizen, G. (2005). Analysing learner language. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Elmiger, D., Näf, A., Reynaud Oudot, N., & Steffen, G. (2010). Immersionsunterricht am Gymnasium: Eine Fallstudie zur Zwei-sprachigen Maturität in der Schweiz. Bern: Hep.

Flege, J. E. (2009). Give input a chance! In T. Piske T. & M. Young-Scholten (Eds.), Input matters (pp. 175-190). Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.

Freed, B. F., Dewey, D. P., Segalowitz, N., & Halter, R. (2004). The language contact profile. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 26, 349-356.

García Mayo, M. (2003). Age, length of exposure and grammaticality judgements in the acquisition of English as a foreign language. In M. García Mayo, & M. García Lecumberri (Eds.), Age and the acquisition of English as a foreign language (pp. 94-114). Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.

García-Mayo, M. P., & García-Lecumberri, M. L. (Eds.). (2003). Age and the acquisition of English as a foreign language. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.

Genesee, F. (1976) The role of intelligence in second language learning. Language Learning, 26, 267-280. doi:10.1111/j.1467-1770.1976.tb00277.x

Genesee, F. (1987). Learning through two languages: Studies of immersion and bilingual education. Rowley, MA: Newbury House.

Genesee, F. (2004). What do we know about bilingual education for majority language students? In T. K. Bhatia & W. Ritchie (Eds.), Handbook of bilingualism and multiculturalism (pp. 547-576). Malden, MA: Blackwell.

Harley, B. (1986). Age in second language acquisition. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.

Harley, B. (1998). The outcomes of early and later language learning. In M. Med (Ed.), Critical issues in early second language learning (pp. 26-31). New York: Scott Foresman Addison Wesley.

Hulstijn, J. (2002). Towards a unified account of the representation, processing and acquisition of second language knowledge. Second Language Research, 18(3), 193-223. doi: 10.1191/0267658302sr207oa

Lapkin, S., Swain, M., Kamin, J., & Hanna, G. (1980). Report on the 1979 evaluation of the Peel County late French immersion program, grades 8, 10, 11 and 12 (Unpublished report, University of Toronto, OISE).

Larson-Hall, J. (2008). Weighing the benefits of studying a foreign language at a younger starting age in a minimal input situation. Second Language Research, 24, 35-63. doi:10.1177/0267658307082981

Lasagabaster, D. (2011). English achievement and student motivation in CLIL and EFL settings. Innovation in Language Learning and Teaching, 5(1), 3-18. doi: 10.1080/17501229.2010.519030

Laufer, B., & Nation, P. (1999). A vocabulary size test of controlled productive ability. Language Testing, 16(1), 33-51. doi:10.1177/026553229901600103

Lightbown, P. M. (2003). SLA research in the classroom/SLA research for the classroom. Language Learning, 28, 4-13. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09571730385200151

Lightbown, P. M., & Spada, N. (1993). How languages are learned. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Llanes, A., & Muñoz, C. (2013). Age effects in a study abroad context: Children and adults studying abroad and at home. Language Learning, 63(1), 63-90. doi 10.1111/j.1467 9922.2012.00731.x

Long, M. H. (1981). Input, interaction and second language acquisition. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 379, 259-278. doi:10.1111/j.1749-6632.1981.tb42014.x

Long, M., & Robinson, P. (1998). Focus on form: Theory, research, and practice. In C. Doughty & J. Williams (Eds), Focus on form in classroom second language acquisition (pp. 15-41). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Lyster, R., & Ranta, L. (1997). Corrective feedback and learner uptake: Negotiation of form in communicative classrooms. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 19, 37-66. doi: 10.1017/S0272263197001034

McDonald, J. L. (2006). Alternatives to the critical period hypothesis: Processingbased explanations for poor grammaticality judgment performance by late second language learners. Journal of Memory and Language, 55, 381-401. doi:10.1016/j.jml.2006.06.006

McDonald, J. L., & Roussel, C. C. (2010). Past tense grammaticality judgment and production in non-native and stressed native English speakers. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 13, 429-448. doi:10.1017/S1366728909990599

Mehisto, P. (2007). What a school needs to consider before launching a CLIL program: The Estonian experience. In D. Marsh & D. Wolff (Eds.), Diverse contexts-converging goals: CLIL in Europe (pp. 61-77). Frankfurt: Peter Lang.

Mehisto, P, Marsh, D., & Frigols, M. J. (2008). Uncovering CLIL. Oxford: Macmillan Education.

Moyer, A. (1999). Ultimate attainment in L2 phonology: The critical factors of age, motivation and instruction. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 21, 81-108.

Moyer, A. (2004). Age, accent and experience in second language acquisition. An integrated approach to critical period inquiry. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.

Moyer, A. (2013). Foreign accent. The phenomenon of nonnative speech. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Muñoz, C. (2006). The effects of age on foreign language learning: The BAF project. In C. Muñoz (Ed.), Age and the rate of foreign language learning (pp.1-40). Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.

Muñoz, C. (2008). Symmetries and asymmetries of age effects in naturalistic and instructed L2 learning. Applied Linguistics, 29, 578-596. doi:10.1093/applin/amm056

Muñoz, C. (2011). Input in foreign language learning: More significant than starting age? International Review of Applied Linguistics in Language Teaching, 49(2), 113-133. doi: 10.1017/S0261444810000327

Muñoz, C. (Ed.). (2012). Intensive exposure experiences in second language learning. Bristol: Multilingual Matters.

Muñoz, C., & Singleton, D. (2007). Foreign accent in advanced learners: Two successful profiles. EUROSLA Yearbook, 7, 171-190.

Muñoz, C., & Singleton, D. (2011). A critical review of age-related research on L2 ultimate attainment. Language Teaching, 44(1), 1-35. doi:10.1017/S0261444810000327

Netten, J., & Germain, C. (2004). Theoretical and research foundations of Intensive French. Canadian Modern Language Review, 60(3), 275-294. Retrieved from http://www.mmecarr.ca/ICF/ICF_PDFs/Theory%20and%20Research.PDF

Norris, J., & Ortega, L. (2000). Effectiveness of L2 instruction: A research synthesis and quantitative meta-analysis. Language Learning, 50, 417-528. doi:10.1111/0023- 8333.00136

Patkowski, M. (1980). The sensitive period for the acquisition of syntax in a second language. Language Learning, 30, 449-472. doi:10.1111/j.1467-1770.1980.tb00328.x

Pfenninger, S. E. (2011). Age effects on the acquisition of nominal and verbal inflections in an instructed setting. Studies in Second Language Learning and Teaching, 1(3), 401-420. Retrieved from https://repozytorium.amu.edu.pl/bitstream/10593/2310/1/SSLLT%201%283%29%20401-420%20Pfenninger.pdf

Pfenninger, S. E. (2012). On the effectiveness of early implicit classroom learning – Evidence from morphology. ELT Research, 26, 30-32.

Pfenninger, S. E. (2013a). On acquisition, age and articles in multilingual Switzerland. In J. Mihaljeviđ Djigunoviđ & M. Medved Krajnoviđ (Eds.), UZRT 2012: Empirical Studies in English Applied Linguistics (pp. 22-35). Zagreb: FF Press.

Pfenninger, S. E. (2013b). Quadrilingual advantages: Do-support in bilingual vs. multilingual learners. International Journal of Multilingualism, doi:10.1080/14790718.2013.782032.

Pfenninger, S. E. (2014). All good things come in threes: Early EFL, motivation and CLIL in Switzerland. Manuscript in preparation.

Pfenninger, S. E., & Singleton, D. (2014). Beyond age effects: Facets, facts and factors of foreign language instruction in a multilingual state. Bristol: Multilingual Matters. Manuscript in preparation.

Schmitt, N., Schmitt, D., & Clapham, C. (2001). Developing and exploring the behaviour of two new versions of the Vocabulary Levels Test. Language Testing, 18(1), 55-88. doi: 10.1177/026553220101800103

Serrano, R., & Muñoz, C. (2007). Same hours, different time distribution: Any difference in EFL? System, 35(3), 305-321. doi:10.1016/j.system.2007.02.001

Sharwood-Smith, M. (1993). Input enhancement in instructed SLA: Theoretical bases. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 15, 165-179. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0272263100011943

Singleton, D. (1995a). Introduction: A critical look at the Critical Period Hypothesis in second language acquisition research. In D. Singleton & Z. Lengyel (Eds.), The Age Factor in second language acquisition: A critical look at the Critical Period Hypothesis (pp. 1-29). Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.

Singleton, D. (1995b). Second languages in the primary school: The age factor dimension. Teanga: The Irish Yearbook of Applied Linguistics, 15, 155-166. Retrieved from http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED407873.pdf

Singleton, D. (2005). The Critical Period Hypothesis: A coat of many colours. International Review of Applied Linguistics in Language Teaching, 43(4), 269-285. doi: 10.1515/iral.2005.43.4.269

Singleton, D., & Ryan, L. (2004). Language acquisition. The age factor (2nd ed.). Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.

Singleton, D., & Skrzypek, A. (2014). Age and the classroom learning of additional languages. In M. Pawlak, J. Bielak, & A. Mystkowska-Wiertelak (Eds.), Classroom-oriented research: Achievements and challenges (pp. 3-13). Heidelberg: Springer.

Swain, M. (1985). Bilingual education for the English-speaking Canadian. In J. Atlantis & J. Staczek (Eds.), Perspectives on bilingualism and bilingual education (pp. 385-398). Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press.

Swain, M., & Lapkin, S. (2001). Focus on form through collaborative dialogue: Exploring task effects. In M. Bygate, P. Skehan, & M. Swain (Eds.), Researching pedagogic tasks: Second language learning, teaching, and testing (pp. 99-118). Harlow: Longman.

Tragant, E. (2006). Language learning motivation and age. In C. Muñoz (Ed.), Age and the rate of foreign language learning (pp. 237-268). Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.

Turnbull, M., Hart, D., & Lapkin, S. (2003). Grade 6 French immersion students’ performance on large-scale reading, writing, and mathematics tests: Building explanations. Alberta Journal of Educational Research, 49(1), 6-23. Retrieved from http://ajer.synergiesprairies.ca/ajer/index.php/ajer/article/view/354.

Wesche, M., Toews-Janzen, M., & MacFarlane, A. (1996). Comparative outcomes and impacts of early, middle and late entry French immersion options: Review of recent research and annotated bibliography. Toronto: OISE/UT Press.

1.1 The Author hereby warrants that he/she is the owner of all the copyright and other intellectual property rights in the Work and that, within the scope of the present Agreement, the paper does not infringe the  legal rights of another person. The owner of the copyright work also warrants that he/she is the sole and original creator thereof and that is not bound by any legal constraints in regard to the use or sale of the work.

1.2. The Publisher warrants that is the owner of the PRESSto platform for open access journals, hereinafter referred to as the PRESSto Platform.

2. The Author grants the Publisher non-exclusive and free of charge license to unlimited use worldwide over an unspecified period of time in the following areas of exploitation:

2.1. production of multiple copies of the Work produced according to the specific application of a given technology, including  printing, reproduction of graphics through mechanical or electrical means (reprography) and digital technology;

2.2. marketing authorisation, loan or lease of the original or copies thereof;

2.3. public performance, public performance in the broadcast, video screening, media enhancements as well as broadcasting and rebroadcasting,  made available to the public in such a way that members of the public may access the Work from a place and at a time individually chosen by them;

2.4. inclusion of the Work into a collective work (i.e. with a number of contributions);

2.5. inclusion of the Work in the electronic version to be offered on an electronic platform, or any other conceivable introduction of the Work in its electronic version to the Internet;

2.6. dissemination of electronic versions of  the Work in its electronic version online, in a collective work or independently;

2.7. making the Work in the electronic version available to the public in such a way that members of the public may access the Work from a place and at a time individually chosen by them, in particular by making it accessible via the Internet, Intranet, Extranet;

2.8. making the Work available according to appropriate license pattern Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) as well as another language version of this license or any later version published by Creative Commons.

3. The Author grants the Publisher permission to reproduce a single copy (print or download) and royalty-free use and disposal of rights to compilations of the Work and these compilations.

4. The  Author grants the Publisher permission to send metadata files related to the Work, including to commercial and non-commercial journal-indexing databases.

5. The Author represents that, on the basis of the license granted in the present Agreement, the Publisher is entitled and obliged to:

5.1.  allow third parties to obtain further licenses (sublicenses) to the Work and to other materials, including derivatives thereof or compilations made, based on or including the Work, whereas the provisions of such sub-licenses will be the same as with the Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) Creative Commons sub-license or another language version of this license, or any later version of this license published by Creative Commons;

5.2. make the Work available to the public in such a way that members of the public may access the Work from a place and at a time individually chosen by them, without any technological constraints;

5.3. appropriately inform members of the public to whom the Work is to be made available about sublicenses in such a way as to ensure that all parties are properly informed (appropriate informing messages).

6. Because of the royalty-free provision of services of the Author (resulting from the scope of obligations stipulated in the present Agreement), the Author shall not be entitled to any author’s fee due and payable on the part of the Publisher (no fee or royalty is payable by the Publisher to the Author).

7.1. In the case of third party claims or actions for indemnity against the Publisher owing to any infractions related to any form of infringement of intellectual property rights protection, including copyright infringements, the Author is obliged to take all possible measures necessary to protect against these claims and, when as a result of legal action, the Publisher, or any third party licensed by the Publisher to use the Work, will have to abandon using the Work in its entirety or in part or, following a court ruling in a legal challenge, to pay damages to a third party, whatever the legal basis

7.2. The Author will immediately inform the Publisher about any damage claims related to intellectual property infringements, including the author’s proprietary rights pertaining to a copyrighted work, filed against the Author. of liability, the Author is obliged to redress the damage resulting from claims made by third party, including costs and expenditures incurred in the process.

7.3. To all matters not settled herein provisions of the Polish Civil Code and the Polish Copyright and Related Rights Act shall apply. 

 

Downloads

Download data is not yet available.