A Critical Look at the Available Literature on the Appropriate Time to Start Approaching a Second/Foreign Language

Hadi Hamidi


Scholars believe that many factors can affect second language learning and teaching practices, among them age has been always regarded as a key factor. The starting age for learning a second/ foreign language is a debatable issue about which different ideas have been proposed by various stakeholders and scholars. Some scholars refer to the critical period hypothesis for L1 acquisition and believe that before puberty is the best time to start learning/ teaching a foreign language. From another point of view, scholars reject the appropriateness of this claim in second language learning/ teaching regarding the evidence that adult learners, in some aspects of language, are said to acquire a foreign language more easily. These researchers claim that concepts such as multiple critical period and the presence of motivation based on which any person can start learning a foreign language at any age can be good examples. In the final section of this paper, comments from 85 participants were shown regarding the best time to start learning a foreign language. The findings of the current paper are of significant implications for the field of ELT.


Critical Period Hypothesis, Multiple Critical Period, Second/Foreign Language Teaching

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