Childhood: Developmental Psychology - Example Essay

Does age of migration matter for how well a child can learn a second language?

In the past 50 years, the number of migrants worldwide has been steadily increasing (United Nations, 2019a, pp. 21) with 82 million in Europe alone in 2019 (United Nations, 2019b). It is crucial to note that about a sixth of those are younger than 20 years old (United Nations, 2019a) as age appears to problematically impact the consequences of migration. To illustrate, migrant youth is more likely to get into contact with the law (van der Gaag, 2019), suffer from substance abuse (Mechlor-Ayala, 2019) and be victimized by their peers (Heine, 2008) which negatively influence health outcomes, such as loneliness (Matthews et al., 2020). This does not mean that people who migrate are doomed to experience adverse effects for the rest of their life. Successful integration diminishes the negative effects experienced as a result of migration (Heine, 2008) and being younger makes it easier to successfully integrate into a new country (Heine, 2008). Thus, although age may be a risk factor in migration, it may also be a protective factor. One aspect which is essential for a successful acculturation process is learning the language of the host country (Heine, 2008). Therefore, the current essay will scrutinize whether the age of migration matters for how well a child can learn a second language.

Age appears to influence the ease of acquisition of language (e.g., Johnson & Newport, 1989). One of the most appalling pieces of evidence for this comes from the case of Genie, a 13-year-old female who spent most of her life in isolation and circumstances of extreme deprivation (Fromkin, Krashen, Curtiss, Rigler, & Rigler, 1974). While she was able to acquire a great deal of vocabulary, she had severe difficulties with syntactic aspects of the language, such as simple grammar rules (Fromkin et al., 1974). Although this suggests the existence of a critical period of language learning, there are significant debates about her overall cognitive ability (Fromkin et al., 1974; Curtiss, 1977; Rymer, 1993), which makes drawing conclusions about language acquisition problematic. Other research since then has found that the first year of life is essential for the development of syntax (Friedmann & Rusou, 2015) and that early life experience with language is indispensable for language development in general (Siegler,

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    Psychology Bachelor - Developmental Specialization

    What can I find on this page?
    On this page, you can find a summary for all the study materials you need for the developmental specialization of the Psychology bachelor's programme at the University of Amsterdam. There is a link for all the separate courses. The courses have been organized into so-called bundles, which contain all the separate literature (book chapters & articles) to make for an easy overview. As all the study materials have been created by an actual student (me!) who has followed the same courses you are following right now, you know the material is up-to-date and focused on you, as a student.

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