Key Terms for Language Teachers - A Pocket Guide - Alessandro Benati

Key Terms for Language Teachers - A Pocket Guide - Alessandro Benati


Key Terms for Language Teachers - A Pocket Guide - Alessandro Benati

Alessandro Benati [+-]
The University of Hong Kong
Alessandro Benati is Director of CAES at The University of Hong Kong (HKU). He is known for his work in second language acquisition and second language teaching. He has published ground-breaking research on the pedagogical framework called processing instruction. He is a member of the REF Panel 2021 and Honorary Professor at the University of York SJ.


There might be some evidence to support the view that individuals before puberty tend to learn a language faster and more efficiently than other individuals who are in their post puberty period. However, there is also evidence that show that there is no such a thing as a critical period. Children acquiring a second language engage in activities and behaviours conducive to acquisition. The answer might be that, in some cases, the mechanisms for language acquisition used by children might not work as well for adolescents and adults. However, it could also be true that there are certain environmental and social factors that have an effect on language acquisition. Would time spent on the acquisition of a language be a major factor? Would the type of exposure to the second language be a key factor? Adults and adolescents might not be exposed to the same amount of time and type of exposure to language input as children learning a second language. As we explore some of the key terms and aspect of language acquisition and language teaching, the answer to these questions will become more explicit. Meanwhile, the main points to keep in mind are: • There might be a critical period for learning a language after which is more complex to learn a second language. However, there is a view that only some elements of the language can be affected. • There might be no such a thing as a critical period as we should consider certain environmental and social factors as responsible for a difference learning experience between children, adolescents and adults. • In examining the findings investigating the role of a critical period in language acquisition, we must conclude that conflicting results and other views have undermined the original claim that a critical period exists in second language acquisition. The critical period hypothesis fails to account for the numerous adult learners who appear to have achieved native-like proficiency • Adults achieving native-like proficiency is certainly a possibility

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Benati, Alessandro. Age. Key Terms for Language Teachers - A Pocket Guide. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. 13-18 Jan 2022. ISBN 9781781798812. Date accessed: 29 Jan 2023 doi: 10.1558/equinox.38031. Jan 2022

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