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Ever since the discovery of the 12-year-old boy Victor in 1799 who had been abandoned in the forest at birth and remained unreceptive to human sounds the rest of his life there have been many hypotheses about the affect of age on language acquisition Although some of them soon proved their validity for the first language they were for long still open to much controversy in the application for the second one In 1978 Catherine Snow and Marian Hoefnagel-Hohle carried out a study on the different ability between adults and children to acquire a second language in terms of pronunciation morphology syntax and sentence judgement Lightbown Spada 1999 By the results it is concluded that adults learn faster in most fields except for pronunciation at the early stage of second language development especially with professional or academic interaction However children surpass adults in eventual attainment and can achieve native-like proficiency The question then arises that which factors underlie their ability differences Convincingly on the background of language-learning mechanism these differences can be traceable to biological cognitive and affective variables between adults and children It should be mentioned beforehand that second language learning is not intended to contrast with foreign language learning Second language learning is used here as a general term that embraces both untutored or naturalistic acquisition and tutored or classroom learning Also the term children in this paper is used to address those under the age of twelve - the end of puberty and adults are those at the age of eighteen or older The transition period teenage years however is not within the scope of this research In the light of recent accomplishments in neurolinguistics biology as well as psychology it can be said that the process of second language learning is by nature the process of the brain choosing to integrate certain language input into the inner language resources This procedure involves the activation of many different components of
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