Overhearing a Language During Childhood

  title={Overhearing a Language During Childhood},
  author={Terry Kit-fong Au and Leah M. Knightly and Sun-Ah Jun and Janet S. Oh},
  journal={Psychological Science},
  pages={238 - 243}
Despite its significance for understanding of language acquisition, the role of childhood language experience has been examined only in linguistic deprivation studies focusing on what cannot be learned readily beyond childhood. This study focused instead on long-term effects of what can be learned best during childhood. Our findings revealed that adults learning a language speak with a more nativelike accent if they overheard the language regularly during childhood than if they did not. These… 

Tables from this paper

Holding on to childhood language memory

Preserved Implicit Knowledge of a Forgotten Childhood Language

This research highlights the lasting impact of early language experience in shaping speech perception, and the value of exposing children to foreign languages even if such exposure does not continue into adulthood.

Capturing the variation in language experience to understand language processing and learning

A goal of early research on language processing was to characterize what is universal about language. Much of the past research focused on native speakers because the native language has been

Childhood Language Memory in Adult Heritage Language (Re)Learners

This chapter first reviews the authors’ investigations into the potential benefits of early childhood experiences with a heritage language on later language (re)learning among immigrant-background

Cognitive and linguistic correlates of early exposure to more than one language.

Language Development, Critical Periods in

First language acquisition typically occurs in infancy and early childhood, and the acquisition of a second language shows a critical or sensitive period when it begins early in life.

The impact of foreign language caregiving on native language acquisition.

Late second language learners: what predicts good outcomes

How various learner characteristics may be related to phonology and morphosyntax production in adult late learners of Spanish is explored to help students achieve better L2 proficiency within language until typical adult learners in the U.S. proves to be too expensive.

Early childhood language memory in the speech perception of international adoptees*

Results revealed an advantage for adoptee participants in identifying some Korean phonemes, suggesting that some components of early childhood language memory can remain intact despite many years of disuse, and that relearning a language can help in accessing such a memory.

Child Language: Acquisition and Growth

This chapter focuses on the development of an integrated theory of language acquisition through the acquisition of phonology, syntax, semantics and semantics in the context of a young child.



When Learning a Second Language Means Losing the First.

A Critical Period for Learning to Pronounce Foreign Languages

This article discusses the Critical Period Hypothesis (CPH) as it relates to the naturalistic acquisition of foreign-language (L2) pronunciation by adults and children. An examination of the existing

The role of television in language acquisition.

The emergence of native-language phonological influences in infants: A perceptual assimilation model.

When we hear words from an unfamiliar language spoken by a native of that language, we often have difficulty perceiving the phonetic differences among contrasting consonant (or vowel) sounds that are

The discovery of spoken language

Surveying the terrain a brief historical perspective on language acquisition research early research on speech perception how speech perception develops in the first year the role of memory and

A sensitive period for the acquisition of a nonnative phonological system

Immigrants who had learned English at various ages and who had been in the United States for various amounts of time were judged for degree of accent in English. It was found that age at arrival was

Age Constraints on Second-Language Acquisition

This study evaluated the critical period hypothesis for second language (L2) acquisition. The participants were 240 native speakers of Korean who differed according to age of arrival (AOA) in the

Faster Orientation Latencies Toward Native Language in Two-Month-Old Infants

There is increasing evidence that infants can discriminate native and non-native speech from an early age. Prosody may be essential to this ability. In this paper, we assess the amount of linguistic