Translating Age: Does the Critical Period Significantly Affect Second Language Learning Among Adults?

  • Grace Dummitt


Many adults are discouraged in their attempts to learn a second language because of the widely circulated Critical Period Hypothesis. It argues that only children who begin learning a second language before puberty can become fully proficient. However, I examine ways in which scholars have been negligent in exploring factors set apart from age that contribute to performance such as motivation, teaching methods, quality of immersion, among others. I call for a reconsideration of this hypothesis as a rule for language education and its place in societal attitudes towards language learning.

Jameson First-Year Writing Contest Winners, Spring