Project Title

The effect of age on second language acquisition: A meta-analysis

Presenter Information

Bailey A. Spalding, StudentFollow

Presenter Hometown

Lebanon, Kentucky

Major

Psychology and Spanish

Department

Psychology

Degree

Undergraduate

Mentor

Richard Osbaldiston

Mentor Department

Psychology

Abstract

There is a popular notion that younger individuals learn a second language (L2) easier than older individuals. This meta-analysis seeks to explore the veracity of that claim: Does age affect second language acquisition? We located 10 studies that examined age of learning L2 and L2 proficiency. Overall, we found a moderate effect of age on L2 proficiency, r = -.30. The effect was stronger for studies that had younger samples (age < 25, r = -.42) compared to older samples (age > 25, r = -.22). No meaningful differences were found for type of L1 (L1 Asian-based language r = -.32, L2 European-based language r = -.29). These results confirm the popular notion that younger individuals learn a second language more easily.

Presentation format

Poster

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The effect of age on second language acquisition: A meta-analysis

There is a popular notion that younger individuals learn a second language (L2) easier than older individuals. This meta-analysis seeks to explore the veracity of that claim: Does age affect second language acquisition? We located 10 studies that examined age of learning L2 and L2 proficiency. Overall, we found a moderate effect of age on L2 proficiency, r = -.30. The effect was stronger for studies that had younger samples (age < 25, r = -.42) compared to older samples (age > 25, r = -.22). No meaningful differences were found for type of L1 (L1 Asian-based language r = -.32, L2 European-based language r = -.29). These results confirm the popular notion that younger individuals learn a second language more easily.