FAS-seminariet
 
James Emil Flege
James Emil Flege

Ever since Lenneberg (1967) observed that the presence of foreign accent (FA) is seemingly inevitable after puberty, the critical period hypothesis (CPH) has largely guided L2 speech research. Although Lenneberg’s basic observation was correct, research that goes beyond a superficial level of observation yields findings that are incompatible with the CPH. This research has also revealed an important phenomenon – L2 inspired FAs in the native language – not anticipated by the CPH. The same holds true when we consider segmental-level production and perception. The problem with the CPH for L2 speech learning is not just that it is wrong. The real problem is another. The CPH has discouraged the search for better, falsifiable explanations of age-related effects on L2 speech learning.