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Eliza Killpack

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To what extent does first language acquisition differ to second language acquisition?

I'm doing a project under the question: to what extent does first language acquisition differ to second language acquisition?

Does anyone have any thoughts on this?

My project focuses on the different processes that may be at work in the minds of children and adults as they go about learning their first and second (or third, or fourth...) languages. Is there really a 'critical age' after which we cannot effectively learn languages? What can explain the remarkable rate of child language acquisition in comparison with the relative failure of adults attempting to do the same thing?

I've talked about Chomsky's 'LAD', the 'critical age', and quality and quantity of input from carers/teachers; does anyone have any further, interesting speculations? I'd be interested to discover what people think; this really is a hot topic, especially with the emergence of English as a global language. I'm also interested about what happens when bilingualism comes into play. Does anyone have any curious, humorous or otherwise interesting personal experiences with first/second language learning?

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    Dec 30 2011: Hi Eliza,
    I am in the process of writing a book where this will be explored in full. Essentially as adults we have added "complications" because of our developments of our intellect and emotions as adults as well as the education we have had. All this had added layersbut essentially we can still access our learning powers of infants. Essentially the people who are "talented" language learners are the ones who do.
    My main website http://www.stratgeiesinlanguagelearning.com explores these differences and similarities in a way that any language learner can understand. You might be interested in it.

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