第二言語習得の臨界期はあるか？Is there a critical period for learning a second language?
It seems that there is agreement among researchers that the best time for the brain to acquire a first language is before a child is 10-12 years old.
While some researchers believe that all humans are born with the natural ability learn languages, others believe that language learning happens only as result of the correct language leaning environment.
If it can be said that there is a critical period to learn a second language, then what is this age? Is it ever too late to start learning a language?
Whether or not you believe there is a critical period for learning a second language, some tendencies in language acquisition research for children have been observed:
1. Younger second language learners (0-12) seem to learn languages at a slow pace, but attain a more “natural” sense of the second language..
2. Older second language learners (12+) seem to learn a new language faster in the beginning, but rarely gain the “natural feeling” of a language.
Research is showing that the attitudes of parents can strongly affect the child’s attitudes towards language learning, which affects motivation and eventual achievement in that language.
Therefore, while I think that the question of whether a critical period for second language acquisition exists is interesting, it is more important for parents to concentrate on creating a positive the experience for language learning.
In Japan, were the school second language learning environment is often difficult to predict or control, parents might want to consider positive ways to help their children develop positive attitudes towards second language learning at home.