‘Age-Related’ Versus ‘Motivational’ Factors in Second/Foreign Language Learning: Some Evidence from Immigrant Learners of English as a Second Language’

Thembinkosi E. Mabila


In this article, Age related factors in second and foreign language learning were examined to determine the extent to which Lenneberg’s (1967) Critical Period Hypothesis (CPH) applies to immigrants in multilingual communities. To achieve this purpose, two groups of students (namely, learners of Mozambican origin and South African locals) were selected to conduct a quantitative study on English second language proficiency as well as integrative motivation. The results obtained in the two groups were correlated in order to determine if integrative motivation played a role in the ultimate attainment of Mozambican immigrants in English second language. The results showed that the Mozambican learners learned English at a faster rate that their South African counterparts. However, this fast rate did not correlate positively with the learners’ integrative motivation as was expected. The article therefore concludes that, for immigrants in multilingual societies, some other factor other that the CPH may explain the fast rate at which the immigrant group learned English.

DOI: 10.5901/mjss.2014.v5n23p1340

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Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences ISSN 2039-9340(Print) ISSN 2039-2117(Online)

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