International Journal of Language & Linguistics

ISSN 2374-8850 (Print), 2374-8869 (Online) DOI: 10.30845/ijll

The Relationship between Age and Foreign Accent in an L2
Amir Yousef Farahmandi

Although a great number of studies have been conducted on the effect of age on second language learning, not much has been done on the correlation between age and foreign accent in an L2. The aim of this study was to examine the predictors of transfer of accent from the first language (L1) to a second language (L2) in a group of English as a foreign language (EFL) students whose native language was Persian and whose acquisition of English as an L2 had begun at ages ranging from 6 to 12+. In fact, the effect of age of L2 acquisition is very marked. If L2 acquisition had begun by 6, there is little transfer of accent. If L2 acquisition began after 12, there is invariably accent transfer, usually very marked. When accent transfer occurs between 7 and 11, it is usually very slight. These findings agree quite well with those of other studies, but there are discrepancies and these are indicated and discussed. Between 7 and 11, accent transfer may be affected by factors other than biological maturation. In my study, the only such factor to emerge strongly was whether L2 was used in the home, suggesting a shift of identification from the L1 to the L2 culture. This study also evaluated the critical period hypothesis (CPH) for second language (L2) acquisition.

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