Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Is There a Critical Period for Second Language Acquisition? A theoretical Social Physics Approach

Version 1 : Received: 17 March 2021 / Approved: 22 March 2021 / Online: 22 March 2021 (14:34:49 CET)

How to cite: Han, Z.; Bao, G. Is There a Critical Period for Second Language Acquisition? A theoretical Social Physics Approach. Preprints 2021, 2021030540 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202103.0540.v1). Han, Z.; Bao, G. Is There a Critical Period for Second Language Acquisition? A theoretical Social Physics Approach. Preprints 2021, 2021030540 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202103.0540.v1).

Abstract

The critical period (CP) phenomenon in language development ranks among the 125 conundrums facing scientists in the 21st century, according to Science. While the phenomenon itself has been noncontroversial in first language acquisition, it still warrants an adequate explanation. Predicated on language acquisition as a complex process, questions among the first to be raised include: How do children accomplish this remarkable feat in such a short amount of time? And how do nature and nurture come together to influence language learning? In second language acquisition, however, both the notion of CP, albeit popular, and its empirical evidence have remained contested to this date - among the questions, whether the observed evidence counts as CP-specific and/or whether or not it warrants an isomorphic attribution to maturational constraints. Entwined in this debate are two well-established facets of inter-learner differential attainment. The first is that there exists a stark difference in ultimate attainment between younger and older learners. A second facet is the vast differences in ultimate attainment among older learners. In this article, adopting a social physics approach, we mathematically establish both the relationship between nature and nurture contributions and the presence of a critical period, and, at once, tender a parsimonious and probable theory for the twin phenomena of inter-learner differential attainment.

Subject Areas

ultimate attainment, critical period, second language acquisition, physics laws, energy conservation, angular momentum conservation, inter-learner differential attainment

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