Can Mimicking Infants’ Early Experience Facilitate Adult Learning? A Critique of Hudson Kam (2017)

Inbal Arnon*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Why do adults seem to struggle more than children in learning a second language, despite being better at a range of other cognitive skills? The source of L1-L2 differences in language learning is one of the most debated topics in the study of language. One hypothesis is that L1-L2 differences are primarily experience-based, with language learning abilities themselves showing a high degree of plasticity. Hudson-Kam (2018) recently presented findings that seem to go against this hypothesis: in five studies, adults failed to show better learning in a more infant-like environment. In this article, I offer a theoretical and empirical critique of these findings and outline some open questions for investigating experience-based explanations for L1-L2 differences. In short, the main critique has to do with how we define what infant-like (or child-like) learning is and how we identify which aspects of children’s experience facilitate which aspects of language learning.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)339-344
Number of pages6
JournalLanguage Learning and Development
Volume14
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 2 Oct 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, © 2018 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

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