This article deals with some misunderstandings about the age factor in second language acquisition which result from a reliance on
an incomplete interpretation of relevant research findings. It begins with an exploration of the work of Penfield and Lenneberg
and goes on to weigh recent evidence for and against the hypothesis of a “critical period” in the context of naturalistic second
language acquisition. It then turns to the question of the effects of early instructed second language learning.
Finally, it addresses the issue of second language learning in late adulthood, summarizing the results of such empirical
investigation as has been undertaken to date on this topic and arguing for more attention to be devoted to this area in the
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