The research question investigated in this essay is “To what extent does age affect second
language acquisition?” The effect of age on second language learning is investigated through
presenting the benefits and drawbacks of both older and younger learners presenting research in
two parts, one part presenting and evaluating research that indicates that older learners have an
advantage in second language learning and a second part that shows the same for younger
Types of studies in used in this investigation are artificial language studies and immigration
studies to investigate the influence of age, identifying strengths and limitations for older and
younger learners connecting relevant other factors that may affect the learners ability to acquire a
second language. Factors that affect may the fluency that can be reached by an age group are for
example biological, social and method of learning the second language. The lack of ecological
validity in the artificial language studies and the lack of control of extraneous variables in
immigration studies is also addressed, along with other methodological and participant related
In this investigation it was found that age does affect language learning to some extent, but not in
a sense that one has to learn a second language at a certain age to gain fluency, rather that each
age group seems to have their own strengths and weaknesses in learning a second language.