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date: 17 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter first reviews the authors’ investigations into the potential benefits of early childhood experiences with a heritage language on later language (re)learning among immigrant-background adults. It then turns to their newer investigation on how these findings might extend to better understand whether a brief re-exposure to the target language, in the form of a language class, can help adults who were internationally adopted as infants to access their early childhood language memory. Overall, there were clear advantages among adoptees after two weeks of re-exposure, in both phoneme perception and production. Although prior findings by the authors supported a rather robust adoptee relearner advantage over novice learners in phoneme perception, this group difference was more attenuated in the present study. Nonetheless, the sample means do consistently—numerically if not statistically—support an adoptee relearner advantage.

Keywords: language acquisition, childhood language, second language learning, phonology, Korean, adoptees

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