SLR29310.1177/0267658312461497Second Language ResearchGranena and Long


second language research
Second Language Research 29(3) 311­–343 © The Author(s) 2012 Reprints and permissions: sagepub.co.uk/journalsPermissions.nav DOI: 10.1177/0267658312461497 slr.sagepub.com

Age of onset, length of residence, language aptitude, and ultimate L2 attainment in three linguistic domains
Gisela Granena and Michael H Long
University of Maryland, USA

A study was conducted to identify the scope and timing of maturational constraints in three linguistic domains within the same individuals, as well as the potential mediating roles of amount of second language (L2) exposure and language aptitude at different ages in different domains. Participants were 65 Chinese learners of Spanish and 12 native speaker controls. Results for three learner groups defined by age of onset (AO) – 3–6, 7–15, and 16–29 years – confirmed previous findings of windows of opportunity closing first for L2 phonology, then for lexis and collocation and, finally, in the mid-teens, for morphosyntax. All three age functions exhibited the discontinuities in the rate of decline with increasing AO associated with sensitive periods. Significant correlations were found between language aptitude, measured using the LLAMA test (Meara, 2005), and pronunciation scores, and between language aptitude and lexis and collocation scores, in the AO 16–29 group.

Age effects, critical period, language aptitude, ultimate attainment

I  Age differences and maturational constraints on second language aquisition
Age of first meaningful second language (L2) exposure, or age of onset (AO), is widely recognized as a robust predictor of success in second language acquisition (SLA). While older children and adults often proceed faster through early stages in the acquisition of a L2 morphology and syntax – a rate advantage – the prognosis for level of

Corresponding author: Michael H Long, School of Languages, Literatures and Cultures, #3124 Jimenez Hall, University of Maryland, College Park, 20742–4821, USA. Email: mlong5@umd.edu

Downloaded from slr.sagepub.com at BEIJING FOREIGN STUDIES UNIV on July 28, 2013


Second Language Research 29(3)

ultimate L2 attainment generally deteriorates with increasing AO (Jia and Fuse, 2007; Krashen et al., 1979). There is less agreement about the reasons for age effects. Variation in the quantity and/or quality of input to younger and older learners (e.g. Bialystok and Hakuta, 1999; Flege et al., 1995; Moyer, 2009), and differences in their affective profiles (e.g. Moyer, 2004) and cognitive maturity (e.g. Newport, 1990), have all been proposed, but in the opinion of most reviewers (e.g. DeKeyser and Larson-Hall, 2005; Hyltenstam and Abrahamsson, 2003; Long, 1990) have been found wanting. The input to which children are exposed is often richer and can involve a fuller range of functions than that experienced by many adults, some of whom may even live in what amounts to a first language (L1) linguistic ghetto. There is some experimental evidence, however, that input to children and adults does not differ significantly simply as a function of age (Scarcella and Higa, 1981). Moreover, restricted input cannot explain the high levels of achievement, but non-nativelike achievement, attained by the many non-native speakers (NNSs) who live in the L2 environment for decades, often married to native speakers (NSs) of the L2, who use the L2 both at work and in almost every aspect of their social lives, and who exhibit no attitudinal or motivational barriers to acquisition. Also, with the exception of a few short-term, that is rate, studies (for review, see DeKeyser and Larson-Hall, 2005: 96–97), length of residence (LOR) rarely correlates significantly with achievement in rule-based learning even before the effects of AO are removed, and less so once they are. The same is true for social-psychological variables (attitude, integrative orientation, etc.), whose impact on both phonology and morphosyntax is minimal or evaporates altogether once AO effects are removed through semi-partial correlations or stepwise regression (e.g. Flege et al., 1995; Flege et al., 1999; Jia, 1998; Oyama, 1976, 1978). Age effects are robust, even in situations where the quantity and quality of input available to learners are not at issue, and regardless of learners’ social-psychological profile. To many researchers, an explanation of age effects as a function of biologically-based maturational constraints, including one or more critical or sensitive periods1 for SLA, seems the likely alternative. Meisel, for example, considers ‘the maturational changes in the neural system the major causal factor for differences in linguistic knowledge observed in successive as compared to simultaneous language acquisition’ (2009: 8). However, such views remain controversial. (For reviews supportive of the existence of maturational constraints on SLA, see, for example, DeKeyser, 2012; DeKeyser and LarsonHall, 2005; Hyltenstam and Abrahamsson, 2003; Long, 1990, 2007; Meisel, 2009, 2011; Newport, 2002. For studies and reviews disputing the existence of maturational constraints, see, for example, Bialystok and Miller, 1999; Birdsong, 2006, 2009; Birdsong and Molis, 2001; Herschensohn, 2007; Muñoz and Singleton, 2011). Inverse correlations between AO and ultimate attainment, alone, constitute one form of evidence for age effects, but are insufficient to support the biological explanation. Evidence consistent with critical periods and, arguably, sensitive periods (SPs) for language learning, too, needs to include distributions marked by clear discontinuities in the rate of decline with increasing age. There will be a period of peak sensitivity, often considered to last from birth until age six where human language learning is concerned, but possibly of shorter duration (zero to age three or four), according to some findings (for example, Hyltenstam, 1992; Meisel, 2009; Morford and Mayberry, 2000).

Downloaded from slr.sagepub.com at BEIJING FOREIGN STUDIES UNIV on July 28, 2013

Granena and Long


Eventual native-like attainment, especially for phonology, is not guaranteed for sequential bilinguals first exposed to the L2 within that period (Piske et al., 2001), even when exposure continues to be plentiful, precisely because of the heavier learning task the sequential bilingual child faces, in the form of two languages instead of one2. Still, eventual native-like attainment is more likely. There follows an offset, perhaps lasting five or six more years where the acquisition of native-like phonology, lexis and collocations is concerned, and until the mid-teens for grammar, during which progressively fewer learners will achieve native-like abilities, the success rate being marked by a statistically significant decline during this period (for reviews of findings, see DeKeyser and LarsonHall, 2005; Hyltenstam and Abrahamsson, 2003). At the end of the offset(s), that is, after closure of the SP(s), a small minority of learners may achieve near-native abilities, and a tiny group may be able to pass for native on a few areas and/or tightly constrained tasks (e.g. Donaldson, 2011; Marinova-Todd, 2003; van Boxtel, 2005), but no-one will be able to achieve native-like abilities across the board. The decline in achievement among those with an AO after the close of an SP is noticeably more gradual, with variability due to other factors, such as motivation, the proportion of L1 and L2 exposure and use, and intensive training in pronunciation (Bongaerts, 1999: 155), and so will only be indirectly and weakly related to increasing age. The initially high success rate for those exposed to the L2 early, preceding the relatively steep decline in the number of successful cases among those with an AO during the offset, followed by the flattening out of the data thereafter, results in what is referred to as a ‘stretched Z’ distribution (see Birdsong, 2005), with clear discontinuities at the end of the period of peak sensitivity and end of the offset (see Figure 1). As several reviews of the literature (e.g. DeKeyser, 2012) have shown, this is, indeed, the general pattern. The few apparently conflicting findings, for example those of a general decline in ability

Figure 1. The stretched Z.

Downloaded from slr.sagepub.com at BEIJING FOREIGN STUDIES UNIV on July 28, 2013

with an AO during the slightly longer offset period from 6 to the mid-teens (15. forthcoming 2013). with an AO occurring during the offset period from 6 to 12. of whom 31 had an AO of 11 or earlier. 2010. all of whom identified themselves as potentially native-like in their L2. In the methodologically most sophisticated. 1992. 2003). Lee. and 10 an AO of 12–17. are the result of design artifacts and/or methodological flaws in the studies concerned (DeKeyser and Larson-Hall. The Swedish of a subset of 41 of the survivors. but decreasingly likely. and impossible for anyone with an AO later than 12.’ but not in ‘You’ve got the money you demanded – now pass the hostage’ (Kellerman. were rated by a panel of 10 NS judges.g. Evidence consistent with these claims has accumulated steadily over the past two decades (see e. While new lexical items and collocations can be. native-like pronunciation of an L2 or dialect is most likely (not guaranteed) for those with an AO between 0 and 6 years. Spadaro. However. and clearly are. The two groups were of Downloaded from slr. Abrahamsson and Hyltenstam (2009) obtained a pool of 195 Spanish/Swedish bilinguals with AOs ranging from 1 to 47 years. depend on such factors as L1 and L2 exposure and use. language aptitude. they may accept items like ‘Whose eye is she the apple of?’ and ‘Dolores is the party’s life and soul’ (Spadaro. followed by an offset closing between 6 and 12. and impossible for anyone with an AO later than that. Spadaro. is subject to maturational constraints.sagepub. forthcoming 2013). Thus. 1978. again. still possible. Specifically. Beyond age 16 or 17. and metalinguistic knowledge. The position for lexis and collocational abilities is less clear. Swedish. Brief recorded speech samples from those individuals. the ability to do so may deteriorate as a result of a declining ability for incidental and. instance learning as a function of increasing age (Hoyer and Lincourt. especially. late L2 learners appear to have problems mastering the limits on the extension of core lexical items. Long. comprehensive study of ultimate L2 abilities as a function of AO to date.314 Second Language Research 29(3) across the entire AO range. Hyltenstam and Abrahamsson. still possible. but decreasingly likely. 2005. 2013 . Of the 107 early learners (AO of 1–11) in the original pool. based on census data. for example not knowing whether they can appear in both active and passive. the degree of grammatical accentedness will. with a period of peak sensitivity from 0–6. mixed with those obtained from 20 Swedish NSs. 1990). Munnich and Landau. using a four-hour battery of very demanding tests: scrutinized nativelikeness. only 6% (with AOs of 12–17) passed for native: perceived nativelikeness. such research findings as there are suggest that acquisition in this domain.com at BEIJING FOREIGN STUDIES UNIV on July 28. was then examined in great detail. 1996). declarative and interrogative or positive and negative forms. 2005). motivation. They are often unable to distinguish frozen and relatively productive idioms among other multi-word units. respectively (Long. too. acquired by both native and non-native speakers throughout the life-span. plus or minus two). Abrahamsson and Hyltenstam. 1998. 62% were perceived by the judges to be NSs. 1988. of the 88 late learners (AO 12–47). 1998). such as pass in ‘Bessie passed a relaxing month in Provence. chiefly due to the scarcity of studies to date. Native-like morphology and syntax are most likely (not guaranteed) for those with an AO between 0 and 6 years. 2009. possibly around age 9 (Hyltenstam. 1996. or tolerate changes in word order. 1996. and so will only be indirectly and weakly related to AO. A maturational constraints claim that has stood up well to empirical testing is that there exist SPs for L2 pronunciation and morphosyntax closing around age 12 and in the mid-teens. Among other things.

2010). by Harley and Hart (2002). there will typically be less variability in their proficiency scores. further. II  Language aptitude. A fourth. 2004) or the mid-teens (DeKeyser. implicit learning is supposedly unaffected by individual differences (Reber. and easier to show its effects in adult groups. abilities. Based on their scrutinized. not a single learner with an AO > 12 was found to perform within the NS range. in samples of older learners. that since many more children than adults achieve near-native abilities. as opposed to their perceived. Note. involving domain-specific mechanisms. which will make it harder to show the effects of any moderator variable. or for L1 retention among attriters (but see Bylund.Granena and Long 315 comparable LOR in Sweden. such as pronominalization and auxiliary development (Skehan. and measurable. or to supplement the older learner’s gradually declining. 2009. To the best of our knowledge. there is growing interest in the claim that language aptitude is a key variable.3 In the cases of those very few adult starters who do manage to score within the NS range on some measures and/or who exhibit near-native abilities overall. It is included in Table 1 for completeness. especially analytic ability. after closure of a SP. 1993). and only three of the 31 younger starters did so on all 10 measures. verbal analytical ability. where variable attainment is the norm. the idea is that aptitude is relevant for explicit learning. Downloaded from slr. Stimulated by a proposal first made by DeKeyser (2000). Two studies. e. Finally. but since their participants’ study abroad experience lasted just three months. The purported role of language aptitude in mitigating (not overcoming) the effects of AO on ultimate attainment has motivated some recent studies of factors involved in the acquisition of very advanced abilities in naturalistic L2 environments. including aptitude.sagepub. Bylund et al. is sometimes cited in this context. there have only been three studies to date on the AO– aptitude interaction and ultimate L2 attainment by long-term residents in the target language environment. Conversely. 1989). and L1 use. unlike in most classroom settings. where. which is held either to replace the child’s implicit language learning capacity after a certain age. capacity for incidental learning (Long. length of L2 exposure. should be more important. for whom the acquisition process is supposedly purely implicit. however. the results speak only to rate of acquisition.g. DeKeyser (2000) and DeKeyser et al. AO. aptitude should have little or no relevance for younger learners. any post-SP starters who do manage to achieve near-native abilities will be found to have superior aptitude. specifically. the argument goes. near-native achievement is sometimes feasible. Findings have been mixed. from age seven (Paradis. 2010). relatively few have been conducted on the role of aptitude in combination with starting age. DeKeyser (2000) claims. but never lost. 2000). (2010). Also.. and ultimate attainment in the L2 environment In contrast with the many studies of aptitude and rate of classroom language learning.com at BEIJING FOREIGN STUDIES UNIV on July 28. DeKeyser (2000) predicts that if SLA depends increasingly on explicit learning and domain-general mechanisms as learners grow older. then language aptitude. Note. 2013 . that aptitude was found to be related to rate of children’s L1 development of various features. as a partial explanation for ultimate L2 attainment by long-term residents in the L2 environment.

ns •  LAT aptitude test •  AO < 12.11. DeKeyser also obtained interesting differences in the results for different types of L2 structures as a function of AO. r = .45* •  A  O > 40. such as articles. DeKeyser argues.07. on the other hand. All structures clearly classifiable as ‘difficult’. 1959) and DeKeyser et al. Instead of just a sizeable negative correlation between AO and ultimate attainment. because they can utilize their still intact capacity for implicit learning.sagepub.05.  Studies on the AO–aptitude interaction and ultimate L2 attainment. r = . r = . found statistically significant correlations between aptitude and ultimate grammatical attainment in older learners. r = . (2010) used a verbal aptitude test. showed strong AO-related effects in both studies. and sub-categorization. can learn both easy and hard structures regardless of verbal aptitude. and pronoun gender. found an effect for aptitude in younger learners and suggested that language aptitude seemed to be necessary in adult near-native SLA and advantageous in child SLA. 33. Carroll and Sapon. Young learners. which leads NNSs to notice the gap between their performance and NS norms.com at BEIJING FOREIGN STUDIES UNIV on July 28. such as word order in declarative sentences (except for adverb placement). is the perceptual saliency of errors involving them. on the other hand.316 Second Language Research 29(3) Table 1. do-support in yes– no questions. 2013 . ns •  Combined score: Written + Oral GJT Notes: * p < .001. DeKeyser (2000) measured aptitude with the Words-in-Sentences sub-test in the Modern Language Aptitude Test (MLAT. ns •  Unspeeded oral GJT •  AO16–40. •  140 Russians (2010) •  76 ESL in USA •  64 Hebrew in Israel •  Mean LOR 11 Abrahamsson and Hyltenstam (2008) •  42 Spanish •  L  2 Swedish in Stockholm •  Mean LOR > 20 Measures Aptitude–attainment relationship •  L  anguage analysis •  r  = . r = .47* between language (Pimsleur’s) analysis and sentence •   repetition Memory for Text (Wechsler’s) •  5 L2 measures •  MLAT test in L1 •  A  O1–15. ns and r = . ns and •  Unspeeded oral GJT r = −. All structures that were clearly classifiable as ‘easy’.37. r = . What makes the first group of structures easy and accounts for their insensitivity to AO.44* and r = . showed no AO-related differences in either study. ** p < . This makes the structures amenable to explicit learning by older learners if they have high enough verbal ability with which to compensate for their decreasing capacity to learn abstract patterns implicitly.70** •  AO > 12. on the other hand. ns •  A  O18–40.53. Abrahamsson and Hyltenstam (2008). DeKeyser concluded: Downloaded from slr. in what is the strongest claim in this area to date.17. some plurals.33* •  Verbal SAT in L1 •  A  O < 18. Context Harley and Hart •  31 English-speaking Ontario students (2002) •  L2 French •  15–16-year-olds •  3-month stay DeKeyser (2000) •  57 Hungarians •  ESL in USA •  Mean LOR 34 DeKeyser et al. r = . but not in younger learners.

Research question 1: Is there a relationship between AO and performance in different language domains that is consistent with the existence of multiple SPs? 2. so did 72% of the early learners. (DeKeyser.094). lexis and collocations. p = . morphology. In the opposite pattern to that observed in the two DeKeyser studies. Partly in an attempt to resolve these conflicting findings. Some of the 11 late learners (AO 12+) were able to score within the NS range on some tasks (a maximum of seven). rather different results were obtained by Abrahamsson and Hyltenstam (2008). to the best of our knowledge. rather than ‘perceived’.001). Abrahamsson and Hyltenstam concluded that aptitude could play a role in both child and adult near-native achievement. whereas that in the older group (r = . Two main research questions guided the study: 1. and the smaller n-size and narrower range in the older group. depending on AO and/or language domain? Motivated by the previous claims and research findings on SPs for phonology. syntax. III  The study ‘Scrutinized’. morphosyntax. then it appears that there is more than just a sizeable correlation: early age confers an absolute. the four late starters who did score within the NS range on the GJT all had above average aptitude scores but. the present study employed a multiple-task design to provide a global picture of ultimate L2 attainment within participants and to investigate any mitigating effects of aptitude and LOR across language domains. is the new benchmark for ‘native-like’ L2 abilities. vocabulary and grammar. was not. lexis and collocation. The second goal was to explore the roles of language aptitude and LOR in mitigating age effects in each of the three domains. the following hypotheses were tested: Downloaded from slr. whose members had above average aptitude.com at BEIJING FOREIGN STUDIES UNIV on July 28. p < . They found that some of the 31 early learners (AO 1–11) were able to score within the NS range on all tasks. Abrahamsson and Hyltenstam (2008: 498) note that these results may have been due to the larger n-size and wider range of aptitude scores in the younger group. the correlation between aptitude and GJT scores in the younger group was statistically significant (r = . while positive.Granena and Long 317 If the critical period hypothesis is constrained … to implicit learning mechanisms. The main goal was to provide a global picture of ultimate L2 attainment across tasks in three different language domains – phonology. but none could do so on all of them. and the critical [as opposed to sensitive or optimal] period really deserves its name. no study has attempted before. not a statistical advantage–that is.sagepub. 2013 . Following Abrahamsson and Hyltenstam (2009).53.70. and lexis and collocation. Paralleling DeKeyser’s findings. Research question 2: Are language aptitude and/or LOR related to ultimate L2 attainment. but no-one with an AO above 8 could do so on all 10 measures of pronunciation. L2 performance across productive and receptive tasks in phonology. there may very well be no exceptions to the age effect. everybody loses the mental equipment required for the implicit induction of the abstract patterns underlying a human language. and morphosyntax – within participants. Somewhere between the ages of 6–7 and 16–17. in contrast. something that. 2000: 518) As shown in Table 1. we conducted the present study.

should only be relevant. There is evidence. 1998). 3. What changes is the gradually increasing need for explicit learning to support the gradually declining capacity for implicit learning (Ellis. Hypothesis 11: Language aptitude will be related to scores in the lexical and collocational domain for late learners (AO ≥ 16). Hypothesis 5: Morphosyntax scores will be inversely correlated with AO among participants with an AO > 6. is that the capacity for implicit language learning. and each continues to be acquired throughout the life span in both L1 and L2. Hypothesis 4: No participants with an AO > 12 will obtain lexis and collocation scores within the NS range. and one we favor. 5. Downloaded from slr.318 Second Language Research 29(3) 1. if relevant at all. with later AO and in domains where acquisition involves item learning rather than rule learning. but likely to become more relevant. Long. 6. together with the conflicting findings in previous research. motivated the following hypotheses: 1. see Doughty. 2. 4. 2013 . gradually deteriorates with increasing age but never disappears. 4. might be expected to show up for older starters in the learning of vocabulary and collocations. Lexical items and collocations are prime cases of item learning. Hypothesis 7: There will be no effect for LOR in the phonological domain. too.sagepub. 3. 2009). especially of item learning. that the capacity for implicit learning of linguistically relevant regularities from statistical properties of the input persists in adulthood (see Thompson and Newport. LOR. if relevant at all. as evidenced by the finding that it serves well in adult performance of other complex cognitive tasks (for review. 2003. again due to the life-long duration of the learning process for vocabulary items and collocations. 2007. Rulegoverned phonology and morphosyntax are largely acquired by age 6. Hypothesis 3: Lexis and collocation scores will be inversely correlated with AO among participants with an AO > 6. Additional hypotheses addressed the roles of language aptitude and LOR. too. Hypothesis 1: Pronunciation scores will be inversely correlated with AO among participants with an AO > 6. 5. Hypothesis 8: There will be an effect for LOR in the lexical and collocational domain. therefore. Any effect for language aptitude. An alternative to the view that the capacity for implicit language learning ceases at age 6 or age 15. with subsequent problems mostly concerning exceptions to rules. Hypothesis 9: There will be no effect for LOR in the morphosyntactic domain. Hypothesis 6: No participants with an AO > 15 will obtain morphosyntax scores within the NS range. or rules like English dative-movement that are lexically conditioned. This reasoning predicts that language aptitude will be less relevant in any AO group than previously proposed. Williams. 2010).com at BEIJING FOREIGN STUDIES UNIV on July 28. Beyond an initial period during which basic phonology and morphosyntax are mastered. These considerations. 2. in the lexical and collocational domain. Hypothesis 2: No participants with an AO > 12 will obtain pronunciation scores within the NS range. Hoyer and Lincourt. 2008. Hypothesis 10: Language aptitude will not be related to scores in the phonological domain for learners of any AO.

and seven for four years.4 Requirements. Therefore. and no less than high-school education. they had Table 2. AO was operationalized as the beginning of a serious and sustained process of language acquisition as the result of migration or the commencement of a formal Spanish language program. In this study. too. four for two years.sagepub. AO could also differ from age of physical arrival in the country in the case of early L2 learners. after age 16. There were also 11 L2 learners with AOs between 9 and 16 who had received formal language instruction upon arrival in the country. IV  Method 1 Participants Participants were 65 L1 speakers of Chinese. where adult L2 learners are defined as those with ages of onset of 16 and older. The earliest L2 learners in the present study arrived in the country between ages three and six or were born in Spain. In either case. the number of years of instruction ranged between zero and four.Granena and Long 319 6. when AO and age of arrival did not overlap.28 (5. and their LOR from 8 to 31 years (for a summary of demographic characteristics. Downloaded from slr. formal instruction took place in adulthood. 2013 .49) 19–47 25. 2003). The proficiency criterion was designed to make the study comparable with the previously discussed work in the area. A total of seven late L2 learners had received instruction for one year or less than a year. and had then been screened into the study via a telephone interview.71 (5.15) 3–29 LOR (M) 13. from a larger pool who. in response to published recruitment advertisements.68 (6. therefore.5%) NS controls 12 5 males (41. n L2 learners Sex AT (M) 26. AO.5%) 38 females (58. age of first exposure as a result of immersion in the L2-speaking country. Hypothesis 12: Language aptitude will not be related to scores in the morphosyntactic domain for learners of any AO.7%) 7 females (58. long-term residents of Spain. could differ from age of physical arrival in the country.com at BEIJING FOREIGN STUDIES UNIV on July 28. Instruction for these learners ranged between two months and three years. see Table 2).64 (4.3%) Note: Standard deviations appear in parentheses. in addition to high Spanish proficiency.  Participant demographic characteristics. albeit for a different reason.17) 8–31   65 27 males (41. were an LOR of around 10 years. In this group. making its adoption reasonable in ultimate attainment studies.74) 20–34 AO (M) 11. An LOR of 10 years or more has emerged as an acceptable period on which to base assessments of stabilization or fossilization (Long. The participants’ AO ranged from 3 to 29. and age of first instruction still overlapped for the purposes of the current study. had identified themselves as having a command of Spanish similar to that of a NS.

Until that age. The test takes approximately 25 minutes. can be considered sequential.com at BEIJING FOREIGN STUDIES UNIV on July 28. They all had college degrees.5 It relies on picture stimuli and verbal materials adapted from a British-Columbian indigenous language and a Central-American language. 2010. In order to assess their pronunciation. most of them worked in business-related jobs (n = 31) and had college education or were pursuing a degree at the time of the study.. Testing sessions included a minimum of two breaks. and morphology and syntax. lawyers (n = 7). and voiced plosives. and individual tests lasted less than 25 minutes each.sagepub. marketing. the LLAMA sub-tests include study phases lasting between two and five minutes. largely based on the MLAT and consisting of four sub-tests: vocabulary learning. They were of a comparable age and educational level. Regarding the L2 learners’ career profiles.. bilinguals. and. participants were asked to read aloud a three-line paragraph that intentionally included sounds typically difficult for Chinese L1 speakers to pronounce. and sound recognition (see Granena. Meara et al. or social work. There were also engineers (n = 7). 2008. Bylund et al. Granena. and for the sake of comparability. With the exception of sound recognition. doctors (n = 2). to appear 2013b). Following previous studies on ultimate attainment that have also used the LLAMA or its earlier version. they were primarily exposed to Chinese and. sound– symbol correspondence. education. grammatical inference. 2005). for a detailed description and validation study of the LLAMA). an architect. a pilot. As a result. Aptitude was measured using the LLAMA test (Meara. not simultaneous. interpreters (n = 5). so that they did not require any supra-segmental gymnastics: Downloaded from slr.320 Second Language Research 29(3) been born to Chinese-speaking parents who had immigrated to the country as adults. in pre-school. to appear. 2013a. sentences that could be read with normal intonation. Instructions are provided verbally by the researcher. Each participant received a different randomized order of tests. the LAT (Abrahamsson and Hyltenstam. 2003). even those early L2 learners who had been born in Spain had not been immersed in the L2 until a later age. participants’ language aptitude was calculated as a composite of scores on the four sub-tests. Twelve monolingual NS of Spanish were used as controls. usually at age three. with participants allowed to take as many as needed. 2 Instrumentation Participants completed a battery of computer-based tests measuring ultimate attainment in L2 phonology. The paragraph contained most of the segmental phonemes of Spanish. the latest version of the Swansea Language Aptitude Test (LAT. as recommended by Scovel (1988). consonant clusters. a Phonology. The score for each of the LLAMA sub-tests ranges between 0 and 100. for example the r/l distinction. Overall testing time was four hours on average. engineering. and a musician. The reliability coefficient for internal consistency (Cronbach’s alpha6) for the test was . economy. 2013 . The LLAMA is computerbased and independent of the languages spoken by test-takers. 2012. lexical and collocational abilities. hostesses (n = 2).764 (k = 90). or were pursuing a degree at the time of the study. in business. therefore.

‘conventionalized language forms’ (Yorio. de mal en (peor) ‘from bad to worse’. ‘gambits’ (Keller.g. Each rater was asked to listen to each sample until the end and to determine the degree of foreign accent on the scale. such as idioms or fixed expressions.85.05). intra-rater coefficients (Pearson correlations) for each rater were all significant and ranged between . Cronbach’s alpha (α) was computed. Lexis and collocations.com at BEIJING FOREIGN STUDIES UNIV on July 28. 1979). They were not given any instructions regarding how to use the scale. several terms have been used to describe such combinations: ‘multi-word units’ (Crystal. set phrases.976 and . 1980). sano y (salvo) ‘safe and sound’. Linguistically naive judges have been shown to be able to judge degree of accent reliably. who served as judges of participants’ degree of foreign accent. but they were not informed about the proportion. The results indicated acceptable agreement among the raters in each block (Cronbach’s α = . 2. These include sequences of words. therefore. 1975). taking into account chance agreement.07). 1983). a nine-point scale was used.94 (M = . 1991). where meaning is derived. I used to get excited when I was seeing them turn the brake with precision until sparks were coming out from the wheels.972.970). completing multi-word units orally (α = . It was a real wonder. Collocations are semi-constructed phrases or prefabricated combinations (Pawley and Syder. completing compound words orally (α = . Such a scale allows for variability in the ratings and. [Many years ago I used to enjoy looking at the drivers of the old narrow-rail train. verb + prepositional phrase). Based on those developed by Spadaro (1996). 1980). Me emocionaba verles girar la palanca de freno con precisión hasta que salían chispas de las ruedas. The scale had nine points anchored at ‘very strong foreign accent’ (1) and ‘no foreign accent’ (9).87.] Speech samples were rated by a panel of 12 linguistically naive NSs (seven males and five females). Judges were further told that the samples included a mix of NSs and NNSs of Spanish.71 and . and ‘lexicalized sentence stems’ (Pawley and Syder. and word constellations. Spearman’s rho correlations. In order to verify the inter-rater reliability of the 12 judges. SD = . and they are less lenient than NSs with linguistic experience (Thompson. Two practice samples (a sentence read by two NSs) preceded the test.920). recommended for having sufficient resolution and being able to discriminate between degrees of accent well. between all pairs of raters (n = 66) ranged between . ‘lexical phrases’ (Nattinger. respectively). 2013).sagepub.93 (M = . 2013 . they tested knowledge of lexical units and phrases: idioms. for example cubre(cama) ‘bedspread’. The tasks involved: 1. Each judge rated each participant twice in two separate blocks. which was displayed on the screen during the task. SD = . noun + adjective. (1999).76 and . Finally.  Six measures were employed to assess participants’ knowledge of lexis and collocations. but also words that co-occur (e. Era una auténtica maravilla. creates fewer floor and ceiling effects than scales with fewer points. As in the study by Flege et al. As discussed by Spadaro (1996.Granena and Long 321 Hace años me encantaba observar a los conductores del antiguo ferrocarril de vía estrecha. 1983). for example más tarde o más (temprano) ‘sooner or later’. The order of the speech samples was randomized in every block and for each individual participant by the software used to administer the test battery (Superlab Pro). Downloaded from slr.

as noted earlier. the subjunctive. and 5.05) in the 16–29 group.669) presented auditorily are possible (real) in Spanish.903). 62) = 33. Downloaded from slr. An auditory modality requiring online processing of stimuli was preferred as a receptive measure involving automatic use of L2 knowledge.001). marked discourse-based word order in short communicative exchanges (Cronbach’s α = .001).  Assessment in this domain involved five measures. see Appendix). and the mid-teens as marking the closure of the off-set period for an SP for morphology and syntax.sagepub. and age at testing.322 Second Language Research 29(3) 3. there was a gender-assignment task (Cronbach’s α = . aspectual contrasts. L2 learners were divided into three groups by AO: 3–6 (n = 20). and 19.18) in the 3–6 group. LOR. hacer ventaja (dar) ‘give an advantage. prepositions por/para. This was considered a more accurate representation of the type of knowledge that would be available for the participants in spontaneous communication. 2013 .96 (SD = 1. unaccusative and unergative verbs. judging whether words (α = . one testing basic word order in sentences (Cronbach’s α = .85) in the 7–15 group. Morphology and syntax. for example Los pájaros se alimentan de semillas ‘Birds feed on seeds’. the other. The average AO was 4.39 (SD = 3. for example recibir con los brazos extendidos (abiertos) ‘welcome with open arms’.943). group was also a significant factor (F(2.290. 62) = 243.900). correcting written multi-word units (α = . Age six has often been suggested in the literature as a likely end-point for the peak period of sensitivity for L1 and L2 acquisition. and two word-order preference tasks. whose gender is established on the basis of a combination of phonetic and lexico-functional criteria.029. Next came a picture-guided narrative (an oral retelling of a short clip from a Mr Bean video) used to calculate the percentage of errorfree clauses. In addition. and 16–29 years (n = 18).775) or combinations of words (α = . These were all words ending in -z. while the earliest group had a significantly higher LOR than the other two (p < . where participants had to assign gender to very rare (so-called ‘zero frequency’) words in Spanish.001) and all the groups differed from one another (p < . those were the ages hypothesized by Long (1990) to be relevant for the domains in question and that have proved consistent with findings in several previous studies of maturational constraints on SLA. Montrul. supplying the preposition of prepositional verbs (α = .916) with 144 items focusing on seven target structures – gender agreement. One-way analyses of variance (ANOVAs) comparing the three groups revealed significant differences for AO.969). As for LOR. 4. object clitics. 3 Analysis For the purpose of analysis. en un abrir y cerrar de boca (ojos) ‘in the twinkling of an eye’. 2008) to be difficult for speakers of a non-romance language.35 (SD = 1.001). 11. p < . group was a significant factor (F(2. p < .g.7 as discussed by Teschner (1983) (for sample items. equipaje ligero ‘light luggage’.765). for example abrellaves (abrelatas) ‘can opener’. but. and ser/estar – all known from previous work on L2 Spanish (e. Regarding AO. Carmela no está para llamadas ‘Carmela is not up to phone calls’. according to Scheffé post hoc tests. Finally. 7–15 (n = 27).com at BEIJING FOREIGN STUDIES UNIV on July 28. The first was an auditory GJT (Cronbach’s α = .

55% in the AO 7–15 group. 24.44.07 10. while the vertical line shows the latest AO scoring within the NS range. The scatterplot in Figure 2 displays scores as a function of AO.05 for all analyses. NS range).80). As can be seen.36 48.  Group percentage scores in phonology.80) in the 7–15 group. on a scale between 1 (very little) and 5 (a lot) (p = . on average.001).941). SD = 1. 2013 .81) in the 16–29 group. except for pronunciation. Hypotheses 1 and 2 predicted that pronunciation ratings would be inversely correlated with AO among L2 learners with an AO > 6 and that no learners with an AO > 12 would obtain pronunciation scores within the NS range.97) in the 7–15 group. V Results 1  AO × ultimate attainment a Phonology. according to Scheffé post hoc tests. suggesting that the three groups used Chinese between 35% and 46% of the time. according to one-sample Kolmogorov–Smirnov (K–S) tests (p > . group was also a significant factor for age at testing (F(2. They were normally distributed in each of the groups. but there were no differences between the AO 3–6 and AO 7–15 groups (p = 1. The three AO groups did not differ regarding percentage of Spanish use at home (p = .28) in the 16–29 group.  The average pronunciation ratings on the read-aloud task are shown in Table 3.sagepub. Scores on the language tests were standardized to a scale ranging from 0 to 100 to allow comparisons across domains. In fact.11 10.95 20.001).Granena and Long 323 there were no differences between the AO 7–15 and AO 16–29 groups (p = .19 (SD = 3. the averages were very similar: AO 3–6 (M = 3. AO 16–29 (M = 3. Ratings were converted into percentages for comparability.000).218). The average age at testing was 24. either.11 83. M Controls (n = 12) AO 3–6 (n = 20) AO 7–15 (n = 27) AO 16–29 (n = 18) 96.30 30.11 years (SD = 2. The average LOR was 19.com at BEIJING FOREIGN STUDIES UNIV on July 28.05). The latest group was significantly older than the other two (p < .162). SD = .08) in the 3–6 group. The percentage of daily Spanish use was 65% in the AO 3–6 group.10 years (SD = 4.35. and 31.07 years (SD = 3. and 10. The three groups did not differ regarding degree of identification with Spanish culture. Alpha was set at . Note that there was no chance level in any of the domains. and 54% in the AO 16–29 group.283). The horizontal dashed line indicates the lowest score in the NS group (i.92) in the 3–6 group.78 (SD = 5. p < . 62) = 19.40.385). Finally. they included a combination of productive and receptive tasks. SD = .04). since. according to Scheffé post hoc tests. 12. percentage of daily Spanish use (p = . or hours of daily Spanish use (p = .12 Downloaded from slr.861.15 (SD = 3.e. the decline in pronunciation started very early and was already Table 3. AO 7–15 (M = 3.99).30 SD 4.

prepositional verbs. according to one-sample K–S tests (p > .015). the AO ultimate attainment function flattened out (a weak.01 SD 4. M Controls (n = 12) AO 3–6 (n = 20) AO 7–15 (n = 27) AO 16–29 (n = 18) 89.05). p = . 2013 .324 Second Language Research 29(3) significant in the AO 3–6 group (r = −.54. The decline continued in the AO 7–15 group. and that no participants with an Figure 2. approachingzero. Hypotheses 3 and 4 predicted that lexis and collocational scores would be inversely correlated with AO among participants with an AO > 6.  Group percentage scores in lexis and collocation. starting from age 16.66 44. negative correlation). but was not as steep as in the AO 3–6 group (r = −.64 11.98 58.36. word/non-word discrimination. and collocational judgment) (see Table 4).067) and. b  Lexis and collocation. multi-word unit correction. p = . Table 4.566).  Scores in phonology as a function of AO.sagepub. multi-word unit completion. producing a clear discontinuity (r = −.  An overall score on lexis and collocation was computed for each participant by averaging percentage scores on the six lexical and collocational tasks (compound completion. No learner performed within the NS range in pronunciation with an AO later than 5. p = . Scores in each of the groups were normally distributed.74 Downloaded from slr.26 8.14.63 15.69 80.com at BEIJING FOREIGN STUDIES UNIV on July 28.

as shown by the significant negative correlation in the AO 7–15 group (r = −. discourse-determined word order. each with an AO of 9. p = . and gender assignment) (see Table 5).066) thereafter.91 5. but also a more gradual decline (r = −.Granena and Long 325 AO > 12 would score within the NS range. error-free clauses in oral narration task.60 69. but non-significant correlation in the AO 3–6 group (r = −. The scatterplot in Figure 3 presents lexis and collocational scores as a function of AO.  An overall score for morphosyntax was computed by averaging the percentage scores on the five morphosyntactic tasks (GJT. The decline in the lexical domain took place later than in the phonological domain. M Controls (n = 12) AO 3–6 (n = 20) AO 7–15 (n = 27) AO 16–29 (n = 18) 86.sagepub.63 6. c  Morphology and syntax.361). Scores were normally distributed according to one-sample K–S tests (p > . two participants in the AO 7–15 group scored within the NS range in lexis and collocation.02 5.22. 2013 .44. Table 5.79 80.  Group percentage scores in morphology and syntax. Figure 3.com at BEIJING FOREIGN STUDIES UNIV on July 28. While only very early starters in the AO 3–6 group scored within the NS range in pronunciation. There was a clear discontinuity in the data starting at AO 16.70 Downloaded from slr.05). p = . p = .  Scores in lexis and collocation as a function of AO.23 64. word order preference task.59.25 SD 3.001).

The results of the analyses showed that a regression model with two breakpoints provided a significantly better fit to the data than a regression model without breakpoints for each of the language domains: Lexis and collocation (F(2. R2 change = . was only around 5%.17.012.039. 61) = 3.498). later than any individuals within the NS range in the phonological and lexical domains. p = .04).025). multiple linear regression analyses were performed to compare the slopes of the age-attainment function in each domain. R2 change = . morphosyntax (F(2.05). If slope differences between age groups are substantial enough. This could mean that the less complex (i.687 and r = −. and phonology (F(2.59).048. However.191. Weak. As in the lexical domain. In addition to correlation coefficients.09. p = .com at BEIJING FOREIGN STUDIES UNIV on July 28.e. Figure 4 shows a scatterplot of scores as a function of AO. p = . R2 change = . 61) = 4.04). approaching zero. 61) = 3. p = .784. p = . more parsimonious) Figure 4. the increase in variance accounted for. Downloaded from slr.sagepub.43. but it was less steep than in the lexical domain (−.423. negative correlations were observed in the other two AO groups (r = −.43 vs −. 2013 . the R2 change between the full and restricted model should be statistically significant. and that no participants with an AO > 15 would score within the NS range. A restricted one-slope model with AO as a single predictor was compared against a full model that included interaction terms between the predictor and dummy-coded AO group variables. The scatterplot also showed that one participant in the AO 7–15 group was able to score within NS range with an AO of 12.326 Second Language Research 29(3) Hypotheses 5 and 6 predicted that morphosyntactic scores would be inversely correlated with AO among participants with an AO > 6. the decline in morphosyntax took place in the AO 7–15 group (r = −.  Scores in morphosyntax as a function of AO. p = . even if significant.

Granena and Long 327 model with no breakpoints is already a good enough fit to the data or.001).3928). that a larger sample size is needed to compensate for the loss of degrees of freedom and to minimize the risk of overfitting. No L2 learner performed within the NS range with an AO later than 5 in pronunciation. followed by lexis and collocation. lexis and collocation.150).001). 71) = 15. ηp2 = .659).com at BEIJING FOREIGN STUDIES UNIV on July 28. 25) = 27. performed significantly lower than the controls in all three domains (p < . partial ηp2 = .058.73.433) (see Figure 6). p < . partial ηp2 = . partial ηp2 = . p < . p < . and.781.001. AO 3–6. language domain was a significant main factor in the AO 7–15 group (F(2. as well as in morphosyntax (p = . Controls and the earliest AO group scored highest on phonology. According to Bonferroni-adjusted pairwise comparisons. and later than 12 in morphosyntax. and morphology and syntax (F(3. p < . 16) = 107. as shown by between-participants evidence of differential attainment in the three language domains. followed by lexis and collocation (r = −. p < .001). ηp2 = . AO had a definite and measurable effect on the level of ultimate attainment reached by L2 learners. or morphosyntax (p = .265. and morphosyntax. 2013 .044). Multiple sensitive periods In order to investigate whether the relationship between AO and performance in different language domains was consistent with the existence of multiple SPs. 71) = 70.662). 71) = 46. The effects of AO on ultimate attainment were further assessed by means of a multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) with AO group as a between-participants factor (controls.44) that approached significance in the AO 16–29 group for lexis and collocation. p < .001.001. in the AO 7–15 group. Both groups. alternatively. for lexis and collocation. p < . a repeated-measures ANOVA was conducted with the scores in the three language domains as a within-participants factor and AO group as a between-participants factor.sagepub.001.589.160. In addition. lexis and collocation (p = .748). There was also a mild decline (r = −. those learners who started the process of acquisition before age six performed significantly better than those in the AO 7–15 and AO 16–29 groups (p < . The analysis yielded a significant two-way interaction between language domain and AO group ( F (6.001. Finally.81. Univariate tests further showed that groups differed in each of the domains: phonology (F(3.001). To summarize. 140) = 17. Downloaded from slr. while the opposite pattern was observed in the two latest AO groups (morphosyntax > lexis and collocation > phonology). By AO group. and AO 16–29) and scores in the three domains as dependent variables. lexis and collocation (F(3.001).737. p < . later than 9 in lexis and collocation.052).828. p < . and morphosyntax (phonology > lexis and collocation > morphosyntax).425). but did not differ from controls in either phonology (p = . 71) = 45.001.684) and the AO 16–29 group (F(2. in turn.001). there were significant inverse correlations in the AO 3–6 group for phonology. Bonferroni-adjusted pair-wise comparisons showed that the three language domains in these two AO groups were significantly different from one another (p < .001.931).001) and morphosyntax (r = −. and morphosyntax) (see Figure 5) revealed that the overall decline in performance as a function of AO was the steepest for phonology (r = −. ηp2 = . The multivariate effect was significant by AO group (F(3. AO 7–15. The AO 7–15 group also performed better than the AO 16–29 group in phonology and lexis and collocations (p < . comparisons of L2 attainment in the three domains (phonology.79. ηp2 = . p < .

  Summary of results for three language domains.328 Second Language Research 29(3) Downloaded from slr.com at BEIJING FOREIGN STUDIES UNIV on July 28.sagepub. 2013 Figure 5. .

Granena and Long 329 Figure 6.001). and morphosyntactic scores were all non-significant: .62 (p < . on the other hand.33 (p = .sagepub. When the effect of AO was partialed out.688).008 and r = −.60 (p < . In the case of lexis and collocation. The reverse partial correlations. p = . By group. respectively. p < . becoming non-significant in phonology (r = .624). and −.781).04 (p = . the correlations between LOR and phonological. . Downloaded from slr. and . . The overall correlations between LOR and scores in phonology.001) between AO and scores in lexis and collocation. with LOR partialed out.001).66 (p < .58 (p < .658). the correlations with LOR dropped in magnitude: .12 (p = . In the AO 3–6 group.44 (p = .942).33 (p = . LOR × language domain Hypotheses 4 and 6 predicted no effects of LOR on attainment in phonology or morphosyntax.995).057). lexical and collocational. the strength of the correlations with LOR fell.58.54 (p < .41 (p = . . and morphosyntactic scores. AO and LOR were significantly correlated in the AO 3–6 and AO 7–15 groups (r = −. and −.001). −.42. and morphosyntax were .273) and morphosyntax (r = . p = . predicted effects of LOR in lexis and collocation. When AO was partialed out.02 (p = .14.07 (p = . but not in the AO 16–29 group (r = −. between AO and phonological.01 (p = .071). indicating that participants with earlier AOs had longer LOR and participants with later AOs had shorter LOR. lexis and collocation. The reverse partial correlations.146).com at BEIJING FOREIGN STUDIES UNIV on July 28. were all moderately strong and significant: −. and . the correlation also fell.043).863). p = . and −.001). p = .68 (p < . but remained significant (r = . 2013 . respectively. Hypothesis 5.156).001) between AO and scores in morphosyntax. with LOR partialed out.001) between AO and scores in phonology. Correlations were first computed between LOR and scores in each domain. . between AO and scores in each of the domains. p = . lexical and collocational. partial correlations were also computed in order to assess the independent contribution of LOR. respectively.  Scores by AO group and language domain. were −. p = . Given that AO and LOR were strongly and significantly correlated in the sample (r = −.031).

com at BEIJING FOREIGN STUDIES UNIV on July 28. These results could be interpreted in support of the cognitive benefits of early bilingualism.14 (p = . 61) = 3. while controlling for the effects of LOR. respectively. The reverse correlations with AO. Finally. By group. which was −.030. In order to account for the LOR variable.043).009 and p < . lexis and collocations (p = .758. .470) between LOR and scores in morphosyntax.448). and morphosyntax (p = . and .07 (p = .001 and p < . even after controlling for AO (r = . p = .41. partialing LOR out.065). and .36. . The average language aptitude scores in each of the groups are displayed in Table 6. remained significant for lexis and collocation (r = −. and morphosyntax (p < . the correlations approached zero: −. and non-significant for phonology (r = −.205. p = . LOR was significantly related to ultimate attainment in lexis and collocation.60. Downloaded from slr. There were no other significant group differences.006) and morphosyntax (r = −. p < . This was a weaker correlation than the reverse between AO and lexis and collocation with LOR partialed out.070). ηp2 = . in the AO 16–29 group. but the correlation between LOR and scores in lexis and collocation was moderate and significant (r = . .001 and p < . LOR was weakly and not significantly correlated with ultimate attainment in phonology and morphosyntax when AO was controlled for. the AO 3–6 and AO 7–15 groups did not differ from each other (p = . p < .330 Second Language Research 29(3) In the AO 7–15 group. The AO 3–6 group performed significantly better than the AO 7–15 and AO 16–29 groups in phonology (p < .880) and −.046). the correlations between LOR and scores in phonology and morphosyntax were weak and non-significant. Hypothesis 8 predicted a relationship between aptitude and attainment in lexis and collocation for late learners. When AO was partialed out.28. Aptitude × ultimate attainment The role of language aptitude in ultimate L2 attainment was investigated in each AO group and language domain. According to the more conservative Scheffé. Hypotheses 7 and 9 predicted no relationship between aptitude and L2 attainment in phonology and morphosyntax for learners in any AO group. p = . LOR was significant in lexical and collocational attainment in the latest AO group. in the three language domains. The results of the multivariate tests showed that AO group was a significant factor (F(2.001.05 (p = . 61) = 7. lexis and collocation (p = . the correlations between LOR and scores in each of the domains were also weak and non-significant: .sagepub.001.001).023).53. Bonferroni-adjusted pair-wise comparisons indicated that the covariate-adjusted means of the three AO groups were significantly different from one another. ηp2 = .19 (p = .002). a multivariate analysis of covariance was performed to assess the effects of AO.005). The AO 7–15 group also performed significantly better than the AO 16–29 group in phonology (p = .25 (p = .04 (p = .08 (p = . although the possibility exists that they were chance effects resulting from the relatively small cell size (n = 20). To summarize.283) and that LOR was a significant covariate (F(2.001).001).140). However.02 (p = . p = . but controlling for LOR as a covariate did not affect the significant differences between the three AO groups.207) between LOR and scores in lexis and collocation.038).817) between LOR and scores in phonology. p = .53.740). p = . The AO 3–6 group scored significantly higher than all the other groups. according to Tukey post hoc tests.699). 2013 .927).

029). The correlations with Downloaded from slr.39 (. the strongest correlations were with the aptitude sub-tests measuring sound–symbol correspondence (LLAMA E) (r = .06 (.008. where high aptitude = z-scores > .49 SD 13.386). and t(9) = 2.21 58.911.75) and 52. In the latest AO group.779) .sagepub.36.018) Morphosyntax (r) .09 (.482) . In phonology and lexis and collocation. The difference was not significant (t(9) = . high-aptitude learners scored 65.69 (SD = 6.017).56 48.Granena and Long Table 6.com at BEIJING FOREIGN STUDIES UNIV on July 28.562) . As a follow-up to the results in the AO 16–29 group. while low-aptitude learners (n = 5) scored 20.93 14. a partial correlation was computed between aptitude and scores in lexis and collocation. 2013 .5 < z-scores < .98). In order to assess the role of aptitude in the AO 16–29 group further.  Correlations between language domain and language aptitude. lexis and collocation.5. scores of highand low-aptitude individuals were compared according to a z-score distribution.  Average raw scores in language aptitude. M Controls (n = 12) AO 3–6 (n = 20) AO 7–15 (n = 27) AO 16–29 (n = 18) 40. The correlation between aptitude and lexical and collocational scores remained significant with LOR partialed out (r = .13 (.9 In morphosyntax. the correlations with aptitude were significant for phonology and for lexis and collocation.137). The correlations between aptitude and scores in phonology.19 (.454) .25 (. p = .30 (.55 (.601) Lexis and collocation (r) . was weaker and did not reach significance (r = . p = .635) .091) and grammatical inferencing (LLAMA F) (r = . Phonology (r) Controls (n = 12) AO 3–6 (n = 20) AO 7–15 (n = 27) AO 16–29 (n = 18) .56 (SD = 2.930.5.69 331 Table 7.59 (.16 45. while the reverse partial correlation with LOR.30 (.53.17 (.38 10. For phonology. but not for morphosyntax.41).395) .44.010) In order to assess the relationship between aptitude and ultimate attainment.49 (SD = 8.192) . high-aptitude learners (n = 6) scored 34. and morphosyntax were non-significant in the control group and in the AO 3–6 and AO 7–15 L2-learner groups. mid aptitude = −. Given that LOR also correlated significantly with scores in lexis and collocation in the AO 16–29 group.63 (SD = 12.084) .077). respectively. p = . controlling for LOR.367) . correlations were computed between language aptitude and scores in each domain (see Table 7).87 (SD = 6.51) and 33. p = .87 (SD = 7. AO 16–29.5.418.17 (.49 11. controlling for aptitude. the strength of relationships between the different aptitude sub-tests and scores in phonology and lexis and collocation was assessed. p = . and low aptitude = z-scores < −. p = .08) and low-aptitude learners 61. p = . These differences were statistically significant (t(9) = 3.41.86).

This confirmed Hypotheses 2. p = . balanced bilinguals. These findings are consistent with the claimed existence of multiple SPs for different language domains (Long.332) and . The steepest decline in the morphosyntactic and lexical and collocational domains was in the AO 7–15 range.307) and . followed by a marked flattening over the rest of the AO range (16–29). 1996). The data showed a steeper decline in pronunciation overall. The latest AOs at which there was evidence of native-like attainment were 5 in phonology. scores in the latest AO group (AO 16– 29) showed a relationship with aptitude. 1992. and 6.24 (p = . was refuted. and beyond AO 15 in morphosyntax. Lee. Spadaro. There was between-participants evidence of differential attainment according to AO group in all domains.137). This result suggests that peak sensitivity in phonology is likely to be in the AO 0–3 or 0–4 range.16 (p = . The correlations with vocabulary learning and grammatical inferencing (LLAMA B and F) were . thus providing important evidence of clear discontinuities in all three domains required for SP claims to go through. 1978). respectively. Schachter.519).e. 1996. 2013 .318). To summarize. In what has been the least researched of the three domains to date. Seliger.26 (p = .46. while scores in morphosyntax did not. 1990.058) and sound–symbol correspondence (LLAMA E) (r = .25 (p = . 2011. depending on language domain. The lexis and collocation domain Downloaded from slr. possibly closing after that for pronunciation and probably earlier than that for morphosyntax (Hyltenstam. Hypothesis 1. and within-participants evidence of differential attainment × domain.36. Meisel. such as one parent-one language cases). and 12 in morphosyntax. However. 9 in lexis and collocation. however. Scores in pronunciation and in lexis and collocation correlated with aptitude. This pattern of results confirmed Hypotheses 3 and 5. respectively. the study provides further evidence of the existence of a separate SP for lexical and collocational ability. which predicted that no L2 learner would score within the NS range beyond AO 12 in phonology and lexis and collocation. p = . as shown by different AO-ultimate attainment functions. after which the rate of decline again visibly slowed. which this study did not include (i. either in relation to an arbitrary symbol (sound–symbol correspondence) or as part of a longer list of words. 4. The two aptitude sub-tests that accounted for the significant correlation in lexis and collocation involved learning auditory stimuli. scores in the control group and the two earliest AO groups (AO 3–6 and AO 7–15) were unaffected by aptitude. the strongest correlations were with sound recognition (LLAMA D) (r = . which predicted an inverse correlation between AO and performance among participants with an AO > 6. since the decline in phonology started earlier than AO 6 in speech production.com at BEIJING FOREIGN STUDIES UNIV on July 28. For lexis and collocation. 1998.332 Second Language Research 29(3) vocabulary learning and sound recognition (LLAMA B and D) were .sagepub. with the steepest declines in the AO 3–6 and 7–15 AO ranges. Discussion The study addressed two major research questions: • Research question 1: Is there a relationship between AO and performance in different language domains that is consistent with the existence of multiple SPs? Yes.

In the 7–15 AO range. This contrasted with the findings in the grammatical domain.com at BEIJING FOREIGN STUDIES UNIV on July 28. Chinese and English respectively. and increasing age in general. 2013 . the results show that the effect for AO is robust and more strongly related to ultimate attainment. LOR was significantly related to ultimate attainment in lexis and collocation. but the overall correlation with AO. a ceiling Downloaded from slr. however. only the correlation with AO.601). but only to a limited extent. As noted earlier. The results showed significant positive associations between aptitude and ultimate attainment in lexical and collocational ability. Again. which predicted no relation between aptitude and scores in phonology. and – probably for reasons having to do with the manner in which it was tested in this study – between aptitude and pronunciation. There was no evidence of an effect for aptitude in morphosyntax from speakers of two typologically different L1s. with LOR partialed out. aptitude appears to be relevant in the domain of lexis and collocations. With respect to aptitude.. DeKeyser et al.13. since many more children than adults achieve near-native abilities. both to the late (AO 16–29) learners’ L2 pronunciation and lexical and collocational abilities. across the four studies. first. LOR was weakly and non-significantly correlated with ultimate attainment in phonology and morphosyntax when AO was controlled for. as noted earlier. but no relationship between aptitude and morphosyntactic scores. across the three domains? First. 2010).336). depending on age. These results further refuted Hypothesis 10. 2000.sagepub. the correlation between aptitude and scores on an auditory GJT among late starters was not statistically significant (r = . were confirmed. there will typically be less variability in their proficiency scores. Aptitude in the present study was related. 2013b). partialing out LOR.182. DeKeyser (2000) predicted that different levels of aptitude would be called upon. but not early starters (DeKeyser. only in the latest AO group (16–29)10.Granena and Long 333 was also sensitive to LOR. p = . even after controlling for AO. On the other hand. this was a weaker correlation than the reverse between AO and lexis and collocation. was stronger than the reverse. depending on AO and/or language domain? Yes. and second. However. p = . and the same L2. that is. with increasing AO. These results confirmed Hypotheses 11 and 12. which predicted a lack of a LOR effect in those two domains. The present findings and those of Granena (2013b) are different. Significant differences between AO groups remained after controlling for LOR. Therefore. where the correlation with aptitude scores on an auditory GJT was also not statistically significant (r = . and offered evidence to that effect in the form of a significant positive relationship between language aptitude and morphosyntactic attainment among late starters. significant differences between AO groups remained after controlling for LOR. thus confirming Hypothesis 8. In the present study with NSs of Chinese. How can these conflicting findings be reconciled. and such was the case in the study with NSs of English (Granena. In addition. which predicted a relationship between aptitude and lexical and collocational scores. Hypotheses 7 and 9. where there was a non-significant association between aptitude and ultimate morphosyntactic attainment in any group. was significant. partialing out LOR. due to the operation of qualitatively different learning mechanisms in learners with an AO before or after the mid-teens. Spanish. •• Research question 2: Are language aptitude and/or LOR related to ultimate L2 attainment.

Granena found that both groups performed significantly better on an unspeeded written GJT with an error correction component than on an aural GJT.91 and there were no significant differences in mean scores between the two test modes. the type and complexity of the tests used. as measured by tests such as the MLAT or the LLAMA. Granena concluded that aptitude. which will make it harder to show the influence of any moderator variable. This interpretation is supported by the results of the study by Granena (2013b) with 30 NSs of English. Granena (2013b) has pointed out that the GJTs in the two DeKeyser studies shared features of off-line tests. the better participants with high aptitude will fare? In addition to the type and complexity of measures employed. Are these studies correlating aptitude with ultimate attainment or with testing conditions. There were 15 NS controls. justified because scores on the aural and written GJTs correlated at . making a relationship between aptitude and outcomes more likely. DeKeyser’s (2000) GJT looks much easier than the one designed by Abrahamsson and Hyltenstam (2008). Downloaded from slr. Measures in both the DeKeyser studies and the Stockholm study would have allowed. can modify the usual pattern. range 7–39). in the different studies may play a major role. but not on the auditory GJT. as in Abrahamsson and Hyltenstam’s (2008) study. one understands the capitalists’ position regarding protectionist tolls’) may have taxed working memory. and long-time residents of Spain (mean LOR 22 years. The processing demands participants faced in the Swedish study with the intentionally complex stimuli of its aural GJT (e. very advanced speakers of L2 Spanish. Robinson (2005) has claimed that aptitude plays a larger role when individuals with strengths in processing speed and working memory are faced with parsing syntactically complex and informationally dense input.sagepub. aptitude varies among children too. including aptitude.334 Second Language Research 29(3) effect. on the written GJT. ‘Given that the economic upturn the country was approaching was very obvious.and mid-aptitude L2 learners performed better than their lowaptitude counterparts on the written GJT. Further. There was enough variability in their younger group’s GJT scores to find a relationship with aptitude. 2013 . and testing procedures. in combination with a smaller adult sample whose members had above-average aptitude. (small ‘m’) monitoring and controlled use of L2 knowledge11. but the results were reported in combination with those from an unspeeded written GJT. since the procedure involved presenting each sentence twice. data-collection procedures may be important. Abrahamsson and Hyltenstam’s participants heard each sentence only once and were given a maximum number of seconds to respond. All were adult acquirers (mean age of acquisition 26. and easier to show its effects in adult groups with the greater variability in ultimate attainment that is typical of late starters. or even required. range 17–43). as measured by the LLAMA. That said. is important in morphosyntax when tasks allow time and encourage a focus on language form.g. such that the harder the test. there was a positive effect for aptitude. The complexity of the Swedish GJT items will have encouraged participants to pay close attention. In addition. loosely based on the MLAT. with a three-second interval between repetitions and a six-second interval between items. especially on ungrammatical items. but not enough variability in terms of aptitude in the older group to do so. Use of a large enough sample to reflect that.com at BEIJING FOREIGN STUDIES UNIV on July 28. including complexity. High. only in the L2 learner group but not in the NS group.

Skehan. it is reasonable to believe. 2010) – and the unspeeded auditory GJTs all tap the same underlying language analytic component of aptitude. for example. We would therefore expect it to have an influence on language learning at all ages unless overwhelmed by more powerful age-related variables. If so. provided abilities are measured appropriately. and possibly little or no effect. it is present from birth.g. including aptitude. Participants had to press a key as soon as they detected an error. by Doughty (2003). on the basis of those last two studies. as the evidence increasingly suggests.. to affect scores. and Ellis (2008) – we would not expect to see a major effect for aptitude in either children or adults. The aptitude tests used in these studies differed. Speciale et al. especially of working memory. That said. 2002.com at BEIJING FOREIGN STUDIES UNIV on July 28. However.g. and even if explicit learning does turn out to have a more significant role in adult than child language learning. may be a possibility. that adult naturalistic acquirers need not have a high level of language aptitude to reach near-native L2 abilities. we tentatively conclude. that the aptitude measures in the two DeKeyser studies – the MLAT Words-in-Sentences sub-test (DeKeyser. 2013 . or is even the default learning process throughout the life-span. The memory component of aptitude (Robinson. contrary to DeKeyser. and allowed controlled production. if implicit language learning remains at least partially available to adults. therein could lie the reason for the different results. Sentences in our study were relatively short and simple (e. like that in Granena (2013b). again facilitating a positive correlation in older learners. tapped participants’ implicit or automatized knowledge of the L2. 2004). In contrast. note again that the lower variability in children’s ultimate attainment will usually make it harder for any moderator variable. in the present study. access to whatever conscious knowledge participants possessed. Long (2010). whereupon the computer immediately presented the next sentence without a pause. This task. except in the domain of lexis and collocations with older starters. and as with Downloaded from slr. ‘The climate in southern European countries is Mediterranean’). 2002) plays a role in the learning of lexis and collocations (e. It could simply be that the apparently conflicting results reflect researchers having assessed different dimensions of language aptitude. 2000) and the verbal aptitude test comparable to the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) in the United States (DeKeyser et al. especially in L2 contexts – as claimed. but not in morphosyntax. as observed in Granena (2013b) and the present study. If aptitude is an inherited. or even demanded. Studies are clearly needed that compare L2 learners’ performance on two or more of the aptitude measures currently used in these studies. the GJT and the administration procedure were different. on-line measures are more valid reflections of underlying linguistic competence. Our interpretation of the different findings across domains is as follows. The learning of vocabulary items and collocations are clear cases of item-based learning.sagepub. whereas the GJTs in the other studies allowed. It seems reasonable to suppose that relatively more speeded. and the predictions of each with one or more outcome measures.Granena and Long 335 It is possible.. although some improvement through training. Indeed. and were only played once. but less so in younger learners. it would in turn suggest that adults are not as dependent on explicit learning as skill-building models propose. largely immutable trait. such as the child’s capacity for implicit learning. and as Abrahamsson has suggested. its effect cannot be expected to show itself if preempted by characteristics of the measures and procedures employed in some studies. therefore.

and possibly earlier (in this study. we do not think aptitude was at work in the acquisition process. too. as the human capacity for implicit learning. no nativelike L2 learners with an AO later than five.336 Second Language Research 29(3) NSs. Yet item-based learning is the very kind for which the implicit learning capacity declines in adults (Hoyer and Lincourt. perhaps for somewhere between one and three years (Fathman. its offset beginning around age six (in this study. reading-aloud task. Unlike phonology and grammar. and larger mean differences between the groups). barring low frequency and otherwise perceptually non-salient grammatical examples. 1980). but rather. modifying the negative effects of increasing AO and age in general. no native-like L2 learners with an AO later than age nine. in the lexical and collocational domain. Phonological rules. Patkowski. of a process that continues throughout the life-span. and larger mean differences between groups). especially for implicit item learning. There is an SP for morphology and syntax (in this study. but with explicit learning playing an increasingly important role. a (small ‘m’) monitorable. It is quite possible that those late L2 learners with higher (analytic/explicit) aptitude were more successful at monitoring their pronunciation while reading. Oyama. its off-set beginning at age six. One way of testing this explanation would be to ask a panel of NS judges to evaluate spontaneous speech samples obtained from the same participants. It is noteworthy that Flege et al. its offset beginning at age six. If our explanation is correct. In the case of pronunciation. (1999) also found that LOR predicted lexically-based items. lexis and collocations. The evidence from this study. earlier than the SP for morphology and syntax. There is an SP for lexis and collocations. 1989. gradually declines with age. we should expect to see the correlation between aptitude and pronunciation in the AO 16–29 group disappear. Munnich and Landau. probably closing between ages nine and 12. for example an online narration task while watching a video clip. probably closing by age 12. this is the first study to provide evidence within the same individuals consistent with the existence of three consecutive SPs. Aptitude is compensating for AO effects in lexis and collocations.com at BEIJING FOREIGN STUDIES UNIV on July 28. 1998). This still does not account for the fact that aptitude was a relevant factor in pronunciation scores within the AO 16–29 group. leads to the conclusion that there is an SP for phonology. but not rules.sagepub. Downloaded from slr. but not in morphosyntax because. and morphology and syntax. which are finite and even more limited than those for grammar. plus findings from previous research by others. no native-like L2 learners with an AO later than 12. Conclusions To the best of our knowledge. rule-learning is completed (or is unlikely to occur at all) within the shorter period for which LOR is relevant. This would predict a greater decline in the capacity for acquiring new lexis and collocations than morphosyntax. 2013 . was a factor in this study because of the kind of measure used to obtain speech samples. It is for that reason that language aptitude can play a mitigating role. and closing in the mid-teens. 1975) or as much as five years (Johnson and Newport. 2010. for phonology. 1978. lexical and collocational knowledge continues to develop throughout the life-span in both NSs and NNSs. should also have been acquired (or remain unlikely ever to be acquired) within the first few months and years of L2 exposure. and larger mean differences between groups).

1968.55) a standard deviation. Pronunciation occasionally impedes comprehensibility.75 to . and Kenneth Hyltenstam for valuable suggestions and comments during the completion of this study. albeit small. 2  Generally poor use of native-like sounds.60 or . for not taking claims based on self-report census data too seriously.60 to . Emanuel Bylund. 4.com at BEIJING FOREIGN STUDIES UNIV on July 28. Strong foreign accent. Language independence is a desirable feature of cognitive measures in studies with early and late acquirers. 1994). 3  Frequent use of non-native sounds. if more were needed. .70.80 and others being as lenient as .80 to . ‘Sensitive period’ is preferred to ‘critical period’ because the decline in the human languagelearning capacity is not as sharp as that observed for loss of various developmental abilities in lower animals. and coefficients greater than . Such findings cast serious doubt on the reliability and validity of casual. .70 indicates that the standard error of measurement (i. Aron et al. The inclusion criterion was a score of at least four on a five-point scale that rated participants’ degree of native-like pronunciation: 5  Native or near-native pronunciation. commercial. An internal consistency that is lower than . where the choice of a language-dependent measure may produce serious confounds with participants’ language dominance and L1/L2 literacy level. a measure of response stability) is over half (0. Pronunciation frequently impedes comprehensibility. Noticeable foreign accent. and because it appears to be subject to some. Typically.Granena and Long Acknowledgements 337 The authors thank Niclas Abrahamsson. or not-for-profit sectors.95 may indicate redundancy in the items.80 or higher means good reliability. not that it is guaranteed if AO occurs before then. No foreign accent. 1  Very strong foreign accent. with some researchers using . 2013 . data-free claims that have appeared in the SLA literature from time to time to the effect that 5–15% of adult starters are capable of achieving native-like ability in an L2.sagepub. Nunnally and Bernstein.60. They also constitute another reason. Participants rated with a three on pronunciation were also included in the study if their grammar use was native-like. 5. 6. Funding This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public.70 (Nunnally. individual variation also not witnessed in other species. 4  Generally good pronunciation but with occasional non-native sounds. 2.e. Slight foreign accent. 3. Notes 1. Downloaded from slr.90 alpha coefficients down to . as well as Sunyoung Lee-Ellis and Ilina Stojanovska for their help with coding the data. Pronunciation does not interfere with comprehensibility. SP claims are always to the effect that native-like attainment is impossible after closure of the period concerned.80 indicates acceptable reliability. Definitely non-native. (2005) suggest that the widelyaccepted cut-off in the social sciences is . The criteria for alpha in the testing literature have ranged from .

10. r. Language Learning 59: 249–306. words ending in -ez are feminine 84% of the time. The gender of the words selected for this task followed phonetic (sometimes aided by lexico-functional) criteria that could be applied with a probability of around . meaning: Frequent use of non-native sounds. Mahwah.sagepub.) Second Language Acquisition and the Critical Period Hypothesis. However. A reviewer suggested that the effect for aptitude in phonology in the 16–29 group may have been an indirect result of the different participant selection criteria used in studies to date. b. NJ: Erlbaum. Participants in the present study were those who had self-identified as having a command of their L2 ‘similar to that of a native speaker’. Thus.47% and 94.63% (SD = 5. and large is ηp2 ≥ . 1983). Downloaded from slr. not on the basis of their L2 proficiency. why did such monitoring result in a significant correlation between aptitude and GJT scores in the early AO group? Abrahamsson (personal communication. t-tests can be used even if the sample sizes are very small (e. On this task.338 Second Language Research 29(3) 7. a small effect size is .14. and it is unclear which one is the better measure of aptitude. including the 15 NSs. Abrahamsson N and Hyltenstam K (2009) Age of onset and nativelikeness in a second language: Listener perception versus linguistic scrutiny. 11. 8. His suggestion is that the Stockholm and Maryland results may differ because the Swansea LAT and the LLAMA measure different things. Although the two samples were small.06.01 ≤ ηp2 < . August 2011) reports that two new correlations computed for all 57 participants. the NS-control group scored 86. pronunciation occasionally impedes comprehensibility. Aron EN and Coups EJ (2005) Statistics for the Behavioral and Social Sciences: A Brief Course. p. It might be that the role and relative distribution of aptitude is to some extent different in L2 users who can be placed in different sections of the continuum from clearly non-native to near-native or native-like ultimate levels of proficiency. m. they are masculine.g. Participants in the DeKeyser study selected using an LOR criterion. 161–181.05). 2013 .80 (see Teschner. Upper Saddle River. with values ranging between 76. Bialystok E and Hakuta K (1999) Confounded age: Linguistic and cognitive factors in age differences for second language acquisition. in the Abrahamsson and Hyltenstam (2008) study also produce identical results: Aural GJT – Swansea LAT: r = . As long as the variables are normally distributed within each group and the variation of scores in the two groups is not reliably different.14. Studies in Second Language Acquisition 30: 481–509. when the ante-penultimate letter is a.12%. and undergone a telephone screening interview using a five-point scale. Written GJT – Swansea LAT: r = . Rare words were chosen in order to control for lexical knowledge. Some candidates as low as a 3 on the scale were included ‘if their grammar use was native-like’ (see note 4). some researchers claim that even smaller n’s are possible). A reviewer wondered how NSs could assign gender to so-called ‘zero-frequency’ words. or u.com at BEIJING FOREIGN STUDIES UNIV on July 28. h. pp. NJ: Pearson Education. Aron A. f.06 ≤ ηp2 < . For partial eta squared (ηp2). as small as 10. noticeable foreign accent. Abrahamsson and Hyltenstam’s participants were strictly selected on the basis of having been passed as native speakers by panels of native speaker judges. 3rd edn. References Abrahamsson N and Hyltenstam K (2008) The robustness of aptitude effects in near-native second language acquisition. 9. For example. according to K–S tests (p > . participants in the different studies varied with respect to their command of the L2.47. In: Birdsong D (ed. But then.47.94). they were both normally distributed in each language domain. medium is .

Birdsong D (2006) Age and second language acquisition and processing: A selective overview. Yeni-Komshian G and Liu H (1999) Age constraints on second language acquisition. Carroll JB and Sapon S (1959) Modern Language Aptitude Test: Form A. Maryland. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition 2: 127–145. pp. 256–310. Gass. Flege JE. Unpublished PhD thesis. NJ: Erlbaum. pp. DeKeyser R (2012) Age effects in second language learning. Birdsong D (2005) Interpreting age effects in second language acquisition. Mahwah. New York: Routledge. pp. and enhancement. Studies in Second Language Acquisition 33: 399–432. College Park. Language Learning 59: 687–715. 109–127.) Second Language Acquisition and the Critical Period Hypothesis. Granena G (2012) Age differences and cognitive aptitudes for implicit and explicit learning in ultimate L2 attainment. In: Birdsong D (ed. Ellis NC (2008) The psycholinguistics of the Interaction Hypothesis. Applied Linguistics 31: 443–464. Language Learning 25: 245–266. New York: Oxford University Press. Flege JE. Munro MJ and Mackay RA (1995a) Factors affecting degree of perceived foreign accent in a second language. New York: Routledge. Bylund E. DeKeyser R. In: Mackey A and Polio C (eds) Multiple Perspectives on Interaction in SLA: Second Language Research in Honor of Susan M. DeKeyser R (2000) The robustness of critical period effects in second language acquisition. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 11–40.sagepub. Crystal D (1975) The English Tone of Voice. pp. Downloaded from slr. pp. In: Kroll J and de Groot AMB (eds) Handbook of Bilingualism: Psycholinguistic Approaches. Language and Speech 38: 25–55. New York: Basil Blackwell. Applied Psycholinguistics 31: 413–438. Bongaerts T (1999) Ultimate attainment in L2 pronunciation: The case of very advanced late L2 learners. Journal of Memory and Language 41: 78–104. In: Doughty CJ and Long MH (eds) The Handbook of Second Language Acquisition. New York: Psychological Corporation. Abrahamsson N and Hyltenstam K (2010) The role of language aptitude in first language attrition: The case of pre-pubescent attriters. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 97: 3125–34. Bylund E (2009) Maturational constraints and first language attrition. and task. University of Maryland. Fathman A (1975) The relationship between age and second language productive ability. pp. Studies in Second Language Acquisition 22: 499–533. Language Learning 56: 9–49. Alfi-Shabtay I and Ravid D (2010) Cross-linguistic evidence for the nature of age-effects in second language acquisition. 442–460. Takaki N and Mann VA (1995b) Japanese adults can learn to pronounce English /r/ and /l/ accurately. Birdsong D (2009) Age and the end state of second language acquisition. Journal of Memory and Language 44: 235–249. Birdsong D and Molis M (2001) On the evidence for maturational constraints in second-language acquisition. Doughty CJ (2003) Instructed SLA: Constraints. DeKeyser R and Larson-Hall J (2005) What does the Critical Period really mean? In: Kroll JF and DeGroot AMB (eds) Handbook of Bilingualism: Psycholinguistic Perspectives. structure. In: Gass SM and Mackey A (eds) The Routledge Handbook of Second Language Acquisition. 2013 . Donaldson B (2011) Left-dislocation in near-native French. London: Edward Arnold. 88–108.com at BEIJING FOREIGN STUDIES UNIV on July 28. In: Ritchie WC and Bhatia TK (eds) The New Handbook of Second Language Acquisition. Amsterdam: Elsevier.Granena and Long 339 Bialystok E and Miller B (1999) The problem of age in second-language acquisition: Influences from language. Flege JE. 133–159. compensation. 401–424.

2013b) Reexamining the robustness of aptitude in second language acquisition. pp. Jia G (1998) Beyond brain maturation: The critical period hypothesis in second language acquisition revisited. 351–68. Long MH (2007) Problems in SLA. aptitude. 445–470. pp. In: Doughty CJ and Long MH (eds) Handbook of Second Language Acquisition. Long MH (2010) Towards a cognitive-interactionist theory of instructed adult SLA. Studies in Second Language Acquisition 12: 251–285. In: Stadler MA and Frensch PA (eds) Handbook of implicit learning. USA. Keller R (1979) Gambits: Conversational strategy signals. Downloaded from slr. 302–30. Amsterdam: Benjamins. New York: Elsevier. Meara P (2005) LLAMA Language Aptitude Tests.0. Meara P. Journal of Pragmatics 3: 219–237. TESOL Quarterly 13: 573–582. 487–535. HI. Cognitive Psychology 21: 60–99.) Individual Differences and Instructed Language Learning. MD: University of Maryland. College Park. London: Blackwell. language aptitude. Working Papers in Bilingualism 15: 59–92.sagepub. Long MH (1990) Maturational constraints on language development. Honolulu. Marinova-Todd S (2003) Comprehensive analysis of ultimate attainment in adult second language acquisition. Swansea: Lognostics. Granena G (to appear. NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. Harley B and Hart D (2002) Age. In: Doughty CJ and Long MH (eds) Handbook of Second Language Acquisition. Hyltenstam K (1992) Non-native features of non-native speakers: On the ultimate attainment of childhood L2 learners. In: Harris RJ (ed. pp. 539–588. Long MH (2005) Problems with supposed counter-evidence to the critical period hypothesis. Unpublished PhD thesis. Cambridge. Amsterdam: Benjamins. University of Hawai’i. Hyltenstam K (1988) Lexical characteristics of near-native L2 learners of Swedish.340 Second Language Research 29(3) Granena G (to appear. USA. USA. Meisel JM (2009) Second language acquisition in early childhood. 2013a) Cognitive aptitudes for L2 learning and the LLAMA Language Aptitude Test: What aptitude does the LLAMA measure? In Granena G and Long MH (eds) Sensitive periods. 2013 . 14–17 October. New York: Cambridge University Press. In: Robinson P (ed. Journal of Speech. In Granena G and Long MH (eds) Sensitive periods. Kellerman E (1978) Giving learners a break: Native language intuitions as a source of predictions about transferability.) Cognitive Processing in Bilinguals. and ultimate L2 attainment. IRAL 43: 287–317. Mahwah. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development 9: 67–84. New York University. Plenary address to the 30th Second Language Research Forum. Amsterdam: Benjamins. Hoyer WJ and Lincourt AE (1998) Ageing and the Development of Learning. Harvard University. pp. Language and Hearing Research 50: 1280–1299. and ultimate L2 attainment.2. Herschensohn J (2007) Language Development and Age. Milton J and Lorenzo-Dus N (2003) Swansea Language Aptitude Tests (LAT) v. and second language learning on a bilingual exchange. Unpublished PhD thesis. Long MH and Scarcella R (1979) Age. Hyltenstam K and Abrahamsson N (2003) Maturational constraints in SLA. Swansea: Lognostics. MA. Lee J (1998) Is there a sensitive period for second language collocational knowledge? Unpublished MA thesis. Zeitschrift für Sprachwissenschaft 28: 5–34. rate and eventual attainment in second language acquisition. Oxford: Blackwell. Johnson JS and Newport EL (1989) Critical period effects in second language learning: The influence of maturational state on the acquisition of English as a second language. language aptitude. Long MH (2003) Stabilization and fossilization in interlanguage development. CA: SAGE. Krashen S. Jia G and Fuse A (2007) Acquisition of English grammatical morphology by native Mandarinspeaking children and adolescents: Age-related differences. pp. Thousand Oaks.com at BEIJING FOREIGN STUDIES UNIV on July 28.

Paradis M (2004) A Neurolinguistic Theory of Bilingualism. Journal of Phonetics 29: 191–215.com at BEIJING FOREIGN STUDIES UNIV on July 28. Morford JP and Mayberry RI (2000) A reexamination of ‘early exposure’ and its implications for language acquisition by eye. Mahwah. Language Learning and Development 6: 32–59. NJ: Erlbaum. Bristol: Multilingual Matters. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research 5: 261–283. Nattinger J (1980) A lexical phrase grammar of ESL. Schachter J (1996) Maturation and the issue of universal grammar in second language acquisition. Reber AS (1993) Implicit Learning and Tacit Knowledge: An Essay on the Cognitive Unconscious. New York: McGraw-Hill. Moyer A (2009) Input as a critical means to an end: Quantity and quality of experience in L2 phonological attainment. pp. and Hernstadt (1991). 3rd edn. Moyer A (2004) Age. Language Learning 30: 449–472. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Scovel T (1988) A Time to Speak: A Psycholinguistic Inquiry into the Critical Period for Human Speech. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics 25: 46–73. Patkowski MS (1980) The sensitive period for the acquisition of syntax in a second language. 211–266. Amsterdam: Benjamins. Scarcella R and Higa C (1981) Input. Muñoz C and Singleton D (2011) A critical review of age-related research on L2 ultimate attainment. Walkenfeld. Newport EL (1990) Maturational constraints on language learning. 2013 . and Experience in Second Language Acquisition: An Integrated Approach to Critical Period Inquiry. In: Robinson P (ed. Montrul S (2008) Incomplete Acquisition in Bilingualism: Re-examining the Age Factor. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters. In: Richard J and Schmidt R (eds) Language and communication. In: Ritchie WC and Bhatia TJ (eds) Handbook of Second Language Acquisition. Cognitive Science 14: 11–28. pp. Oyama S (1976) A sensitive period for the acquisition of a nonnative phonological system. pp. pp. MacKay I and Flege JE (2001) Factors affecting degree of foreign accent in an L2: A review. TESOL Quarterly 14: 337–344. In: Chamberlain C. Robinson P (2002) Individual differences in intelligence. In: Ritchie WC (ed. Morford JP and Mayberry RI (eds) Language acquisition by eye. New York: Academic Press. negotiation. Nunnally JC (1968) Psychometric Theory. New York: McGraw-Hill. Robinson P (2005) Aptitude and second language acquisition. Piske T. In Piske T and Young-Sholten M (eds) Input Matters in SLA. pp. 11–19. Working Papers on Bilingualism 16: 1–17. Pawley A and Syder F (1983) Two puzzles for linguistic theory: Native-like selection and nativelike fluency. In: Nadel L (ed. Accent. Amsterdam: Benjamins. Nunnally JC and Bernstein IH (1994) Psychometric Theory. pp. 159–163. pp. aptitude and working memory during adult incidental second language learning: A replication and extension of Reber.Granena and Long 341 Meisel JM (2011) First and Second Language Acquisition. and age differences in second language acquisition. New York: Academic Press. Oyama S (1978) The sensitive period and comprehension of speech. London: Macmillan. 111–127. Language Learning 31: 409–438. 191–225. Rowley. Downloaded from slr. MA: Newbury House.sagepub.) Second Language Research: Issues and Implications. 737–740. Newport EL (2002) Critical periods in language development. New York: Longman.) Encyclopedia of Cognitive Science. Language Teaching 44: 1–35. New York: Oxford University Press. 159–174. Munnich E and Landau B (2010) Developmental decline in the acquisition of spatial language. Seliger H (1978) Implications of a multiple critical period hypothesis for second language learning. Amsterdam: Benjamins.) Individual Differences and Instructed Language Learning.

pp. Unpublished PhD thesis. 69–93.   (para) ‘Your grandmother looks very well for her age. Amsterdam: Benjamins.’ 1. Perth. University of Western Australia. Ellis NC and Bywater T (2004) Phonological sequence learning and short-term store capacity determine second language vocabulary acquisition. Language Learning 41: 177–204. Hispania 66: 252–256. In: Granena G and Long MH (eds) Sensitive Periods. van Boxtel S (2005) Can the Late Bird Catch the Worm? Ultimate Attainment in L2 Syntax. Noun–adjective gender agreement in predicative position (k = 17) El precio de la carne es más caro que el precio del pescado. Language Aptitude. Thompson SP and Newport EL (2007) Statistical learning of syntax: The role of transitional probability.’ 1. Perfective and imperfective aspect contrasts (k = 24) Carlos cumplió catorce años el mismo día que Sonia. Applied Psycholinguistics 25: 293–321. 1. Spadaro K (1996) Maturational constraints on lexical acquisition in a second language. Appendix Morphosyntactic tasks 1. 319–335. In: Ritchie WC and Bhatia TK (eds) The New Handbook of Second Language Acquisition. Utrecht: Landelijke Onderzoekschool Taalwetenschap (LOT).   (la hice caminar) ‘The girl is tired because I made her walk too much. Language Learning and Development 3: 1–42. Australia. London: Arnold.’ 1. Thompson I (1991) Foreign accents revisited: The English pronunciation of Russian immigrants.com at BEIJING FOREIGN STUDIES UNIV on July 28.   (continuo) ‘The growth of the Spanish population has been continuous since 1990. ‘I will definitely have the bread ready by 10 o’clock in the morning. and SLA.’ * La niña está cansada porque hice caminarla demasiado. Williams JN (2009) Implicit learning. Target structures are underlined and the correct structure is given in brackets.4. Object clitics (k = 18) Carlota siempre compra la ropa sin probársela.sagepub. 2013 .342 Second Language Research 29(3) Skehan P (1989) Individual Differences in Second Language Learning. Bingley: Emerald Press.2.’ * Tu abuela se conserva muy bien por tener la edad que tiene.1. Amsterdam: Benjamins. Prepositions por and para (k = 24) Tendré el pan preparado para las diez de la mañana sin falta. GJT (k = 144). Skehan P (2002) Theorizing and updating aptitude. Spadaro K (2013) Maturational constraints on lexical acquisition in a second language.’ (Continued) Downloaded from slr.) Individual Differences and Instructed Language Learning.3. Yorio CA (1980) Conventionalized language forms and the development of communicative competence. In: Robinson P (ed. TESOL Quarterly 14: 433–344. ‘The price of the meat is more expensive than the price of the fish. ‘Carlos turned fourteen the same day as Sonia. pp. Speciale G. ‘Carlota always buys clothes without trying them on. Teschner RV (1983) Spanish gender revisited: -z words as illustrating the need for expanded phonological and morphological analysis.’ * El crecimiento de la población española ha sido continua desde 1990.

Granena and Long Appendix (Continued) * A los cinco años. b)  Se ha quemado la cena por culpa de tu hermano. ‘Once the house was sold.’ * La miel está buena para la salud de las personas mayores. foz 343 Downloaded from slr. 3. arraez. Juan se olvidó rápidamente de todos los problemas. Discourse-determined word order preference task (k = 38).   (es) ‘Honey is good for elderly people’s health.   (una vez acabó de llorar) ‘Once the baby stopped crying. la cena se ha quemado. we could all go to bed’ 1.’ 1. Silvia se quedó dormida en todas partes. tibiez.6.’ * Llorado el niño. nos pudimos ir todos a dormir.   (firme) ‘The new player will throw a party when he signs his contract.sagepub.’ 2. Silvia was falling asleep everywhere. alaroz Feminine: venadriz. Unaccusative/unergative distinction (k = 14) Vendida la casa.   (preferred) c)  Por culpa de tu hermano.   (preferred) b) Maribel sinceramente da todos los días su opinión. Gender assignment (k = 25) Masculine: alfiz. ¿Qué se ha quemado? a)  La cena se ha quemado por culpa de tu hermano. a)  Maribel todos los días da sinceramente su opinión.’ 1. Word order preference task (k = 30). ‘Journalists will break the news when the government allows them to. Verbs ser and estar (k = 23) El apartamento de Jorge siempre está muy ordenado. Subjunctive mood (k = 24) Los periodistas darán la noticia cuando lo permita el gobierno. ‘Jorge’s apartment is always very tidy. 4.com at BEIJING FOREIGN STUDIES UNIV on July 28.5.’ * El nuevo jugador organizará una fiesta cuando firma su contrato. Juan quickly forgot about all his problems.7. 2013 .   (quedaba) ‘At age 5.