Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Mazzola, Michael Lee

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures


Second language acquisition--Psychological aspects; Adolescent psychology; Teenagers--Language--Psychological aspects


How second languages are acquired is a matter of intense debate within the world of linguistics. Among the most hotly contested issues on this topic is the question of when to begin instruction in order to achieve optimal results for the learner. Too often those involved in the field, whether it be researchers, teachers, administrators, parents, or even the learners themselves, have been misled into believing that those who do not begin to acquire a second language until adolescence are destined to failure or less than optimal success in their endeavor. This thesis examines adolescent second-language acquisition in terms of Piaget's theory of cognitive development, Ausubel's theory of meaningful learning, the relationship between thought, culture, and language by means of the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis, the Critical Period Hypothesis and adolescent identity formation with the aim of dispelling this myth that younger is necessarily better when it comes to the age of onset for second-language acquisition. Through the integration of these above listed theories and concepts, a psychological developmental perspective of adolescent secondlanguage acquisition is presented.


Includes bibliographical references (pages [133]-144)


iv, 144 pages




Northern Illinois University

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