Second Language Acquisition: Critical Point Hypothesis Analysis

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  5
Wordcount:  1101 Words
Date:  2023-03-20


The delays in second language adaptations arise from different rules, such as the thumbs up. The exposure of children to language learning represents a consistent success in the acquisition of the first language. The critical point hypothesis examines if the process of the first language and second language acquisition presents a similar process (Birdsong, 1999). This paper gives a critical analysis of the central point hypothesis in the addition of the second language. It also attempts to disambiguate several mechanisms and factors which contribute to the addition of the second language.

Trust banner

Is your time best spent reading someone else’s essay? Get a 100% original essay FROM A CERTIFIED WRITER!

Critical Hypothesis Formulations

The central point hypothesis depends on the various assumption to realize its potential in discussing language acquisition. The age-related decline in language learning proposes multiple researchers in the critical period hypothesis which employ the etiology for critical period hypothesis in the addition of the second language and a dispute arising from the theory of second language acquisition(Birdsong, 1999). These arguments raise different formulations of the hypothesis such as

Neural Plasticity Loss in the Brain

The language learning availability after the critical period closure proves a crucial element in language acquisition. There exist the need for a neutral substance in language learning as a result of the cerebral functionality tangential and molecular signal processes in the Broca region. The hypothesis argues that there exists a marker for the termination period of the critical period marked by the termination of state directorial flexibility connected to sideways functionality(Birdsong, 1999). The concept also received criticism from other researchers who argued that the progress of second language learners posted shortcomings in their advance attributed to the brain and universal grammar contributing to the results displayed. The hypothesis links mental representation to neurological development.

Language Learning Faculty Loss

Universal grammar loss marks the end of the critical period. The mental faculty constitute the possible forms that the regular verbal communication syntax may employ. The weak argument about this concept suggests that universal grammar represents various reasons for the unavailable and inaccessibility of language learners(Birdsong, 1999). This theory argues that the first language provides an essential base for second language learning.

Processing Capacity Maladaptive Gain With Maturity

The development in children contributes to an increase in capability to dispensation linguistic input. The language learning, however, requires cognitive immaturity, which helps to short term children's memory allowing the extraction of few morphemes. The children always register more success in the acquisition of language as compared to older people(Birdsong, 1999). The children constitute a more significant memory, which allows them to learn faster as compared to others. The increment in maturation, in turn, increases the brain capacity. The starting of learning a second language sprouts simulations of second language acquisition. This training network contributes to the learning of complex phonetics.

Using and Losing It

The lack of using the mental faculty over a prolonged period raises the mental muscle metaphor. The acquisition of linguistic structure by a learner depends on the close working of the systems of speech production and perception(Birdsong, 1999). The two systems depict an independent concept as a psycho grammar that mediates the coordination and production of universal grammar. The psycho grammar will, however, continue to function due to continued use. This formulation suggests that critical period skirting depends on continued language acquisition. Postmaturational outcome of the languages also differs between the two outsets.

Learning Inhibits Learning

The concept of education represents a progressive strategy over a long period, which involves strengthening and accumulation of output-input association. The major shortcoming of this concept entails its difficulty in undoing the mistakes(Birdsong, 1999). The reorganization of linguistic information after the entrenchment proves difficult. The addition of a second language does not imply the subtraction of the first language.

Arguments Opposing The Critical Period Hypothesis

The Age Function

This research focused on the distribution of age and suggested that the neurocognitive development factors depend on the general age and cease at the maturation age. The onset of acquisition suggests a random distribution across generations operating within a defined span of development. Consistency in critical period thinking, neuroactive development works appear in early life and disappear upon maturation(Birdsong, 1999). The concept of the inevitable onset of acquisition and developing before maturity suggests an inconceivable age functionality in second language acquisition. The life span contributes to varying mechanisms that contribute to developmental factors that arise later.

Nativelike Attainment Rate

The native-like attainment rate works on the estimations of the success rate of second language acquisition in adults. This attainment rate of gauging g depends on the competence of second language learners(Birdsong, 1999). The native attainers, however, present a scarce concept in the research. The success of this concept alludes to the peripherals associated with second language faculty. In the establishment of the critical point hypothesis, the success rate proves a paramount consideration and the false concept of critical point and second language acquisition. There existed little reason for suggesting a few ideas for the association between second language learners and the native learners during the crucial point assumption despite the exposure of the sensitive periods. Some native learners continually attributed performance judgment on their first language. The researchers, however, continue to associate nativelikeness in learners in the late stages of life. The research examined the acquisition of the French language by native English speakers who had exposure to french for several years. The research scalars exemplified parametric variations and specific French constraints within the span of native performance controls(Birdsong, 1999). The native speakers and the learners posted varying results, which suggested the research work based on participants meeting the residential requirements. In normal circumstances, the rate of success constitutes enough evidence to defame the concept of critical point hypothesis.

The author selected three chapters to review the second language acquisition debate, which dependent on event-related brain potentials which suggested two processing of language concept that underscores second language learning(Birdsong, 1999). The other idea of examination also involves the notion of bilingualism, which undermines specific areas of linguistic elements. The last concept requires revolutionary thinking, which argues on restrictions based on language learning capacity.


In conclusion, there exist arguments that argue in favor of a critical period assumption or against it. The hypothesis proposers depict humans as having the capacity to acquire languages depending on exercise and the disappearance of the capability with maturation. The opposers argue against the issue of the ultimate achievement of early and late linguistic learners. Several researchers support various manifestations of critical period hypothesis while others criticize it.


Birdsong, David. "Whys and Why Nots of the Critical Period Hypothesis for Second Language Acquisition." Second language acquisition and the critical period hypothesis (1999): 1-22.

Cite this page

Second Language Acquisition: Critical Point Hypothesis Analysis. (2023, Mar 20). Retrieved from

Free essays can be submitted by anyone,

so we do not vouch for their quality

Want a quality guarantee?
Order from one of our vetted writers instead

If you are the original author of this essay and no longer wish to have it published on the ProEssays website, please click below to request its removal:

didn't find image

Liked this essay sample but need an original one?

Hire a professional with VAST experience and 25% off!

24/7 online support

NO plagiarism