Description of the proposed study
The researcher intends to find out whether there is sound evidence of the assumption that children learn a new language with ease. To determine the viability of the statement, the researcher will employ a positivist paradigm to explore the social issue. The entire research will study a small sample representing the immigrants, who are obligated to learn a new language. Since a two-stage sampling will enable the researcher to achieve randomisation, it will be useful in choosing the right respondents. Primary data will be indispensable in addressing the controversial issue. Therefore, the researcher will use an interview pamphlet and a summative questionnaire to obtain the relevant information. Thereafter, the statistical software for social sciences will be helpful in regressing and correlating the collected data. The researcher anticipates employing the highest levels of ethical standards while carrying out the entire research.
People have always developed arguments regarding the relationship between language acquisition and age. While others affirm that children have a higher potentiality to acquire a new language than adults do, others strongly oppose the assumption. The biggest problem is choosing the theory that truly describes the relationship between language acquisition and age. If there were a scientific experiment that would ascertain the truth behind the relationship, then it would be easy to concur with one of the suppositions. However, the arguments are based on mere theories that do not have clear evidence.
In fact, people can argue about this topic for an entire day without arriving at a conclusion. Whenever one group gives a biological or social explanation, the opposing group will come up with a conflicting explanation. In many cases, the instructors of a second language tend to favour their students according to their age. The educators will always presume that children will outshine the adults. This presumption has adverse effects on the adults, who are in desperate need to learn the second language. Their morale reduces, and even if they might have performed better in acquiring the new language, they end up failing. Sometimes the educators may not commit adequate time and effort to teach the children, as they presume that the children would acquire the second language naturally. In such a scenario, both the children and the adults might end up failing, and the entire issue becomes controversial and problematic.
Research rationale and significance
This study is very significant, as it will bring a clear understanding of the controversial issue. Indeed, people often move from their place of residence to another in search of greener pastures. The immigrants have to learn the new language that is spoken in their new residence. Adults, who are interested in learning a second language might find the research to be very useful, as they will understand their weak areas in learning a second language, and address them accordingly. Similarly, the instructors of the second language will understand the key factors to consider when handling children on the one hand, and adults on the other.
The rationale of the entire research is that the research results may end the ongoing debate regarding learning a new language. Therefore, the presumption that kills the self-esteem of adults in their effort to learn a new language will vanish. If the research discloses no sound evidence of the assumption that children learn a new language with ease, the adults will start walking confidently into classes to learn new languages without feeling intimidated. Most importantly, the ministry of education can find the study results to be very useful in modifying the syllabus used in studying new languages.
Synopsis of the literature review
Any controversial subject obligates researchers to make a critical investigation. The empirical observation theory is the commonest conjecture that most researchers use to defend the assumption that children acquire a new language with ease. The empirical observation theory elucidates that children grasp new words depending on their incidental exposures. They do not need to be trained to understand the meaning of a new word. The theory gives further details about its stand by indicating that children are young and inexperienced. Therefore, their brains are more explorative than the adults’ brains that are preoccupied with other things. Children can easily blend in unfamiliar social environments and learn a new language. Their sensitive minds capture any new words that come on their way, and they tend to memorise the words depending on their value. Children will relate the new word with their emotions; therefore; they will always remember the new words in subsequent encounters.
Adults have some strength in acquiring a new language in the first stages of learning. Their short-term memories will grasp the new words and utilise them at once; however, children, who may find it difficult to master the new words at the initial stages, become eloquent speakers of the new language in a matter of time. Essentially, as the adults forget whatever they learnt, the children continue to gain a clear understanding of what they ought to have learnt. Children will not shy off even if they speak a broken language, but the adults will shy off when trying to apply an unfamiliar language. Children will tend to memorise an interesting advert, and in the process, they acquire a new set of words used in the advert. They will always make fun of unusual words, and they will have the curiosity of learning the meaning of the new or usual words. In the course of learning and dramatising the new words, they embrace and use the words habitually, and they learn a new language.
Nevertheless, other researchers disagree to the presumption that children acquire a new language with ease as compared to the adults. Essentially, the ability to acquire a new language depends on the consciousness and the psyche of the learner. Therefore, the brain and the lexical field must have some accurate connections for a person to acquire a second language. If a person’s mind is preoccupied with social anxiety, it may not be possible to acquire a new language. Obviously, the children’s minds are not preoccupied with any social anxiety. Thus, they are in a better position than the adults are to acquire a new language. However, that does not guarantee that adults are poor learners; it means that adults lack sufficient motivation, time, energy, and the commitment to study the new language. Therefore, if all factors are considered, adults and children have the same capability to acquire a second language.
Research aims/ questions
This research aims at identifying the core factors that cause the disparity in the potentiality of acquiring a second language between the children and adults. The age factor, method of acquisition of the new language, and the time taken to acquire the second language are issues that the researcher will aim at explaining. However, from the above literature review, one can be convinced that the stresses of life play a great role in disadvantaging the adults in their ability to acquire a second language. To determine the extent of the truth of the statement, it is necessary to answer the following research questions.
- Do children learn a new language with ease because of their exploration strategies or because of their clear minds?
- Should adults blame on shyness or life stresses about their inability to acquire a new language with ease?
- Is it easier to learn a new language through an instructor or through life encounters?
- What should adults do to alleviate life stresses whenever they want to learn a second language?
- What factors should instructors consider when coaching adults and children to acquire a new language?
- Is there sound evidence to validate the assumption that children learn a new language with ease as compared to adults?
Research paradigm and methodology
This research aims at bringing a clear understanding of the overtly politicised issue of the relationship between new language acquisition and age. The study results will be very controversial; therefore, it essential to employ an organised approach to achieve the required results. The positivist research paradigm will be essential, where; the researcher will explore the social reality to understand human behaviour. The circumstances causing events and the causal links between the dependent and independent variables will be very crucial. The relationship between the two items will give verifiable and empirical evidence of the viability of the assumption that children learn a new language with ease as compared to adults. Further, a detailed research design, an accurate sampling procedure, and a trustworthy data collection and analysis procedures will be indispensable.
This research will take a quantitative research design, where, numeric data will be essential in measuring the vocabulary acquisition levels in adults and children. The research will measure the relationship between the dependent variable, second language acquisition, and the three independent variables: (1) age, (2) method of acquisition, and (3) time length. The analysed data will determine the relationship and the strength of the correlation between the dependent and independent variables.
This research will focus on young children (below eight years), and adults (above 20 years). The study will focus on the immigrants, who have to learn a new language through all ways and means. The researcher will take two stages in sampling the participants to take part in the study. Firstly, a random sampling technique will be useful in selecting the immigrant families to take part in the study. The selected families must have members with no hearing or speaking disabilities. The families must be having children aged between 3 and 8 years, and the parents must be over 20 years of age. Secondly, the researcher will employ convenience sampling to identify the immigrant families that will be willing to take part in the study. The sample size will depend on the number of registered immigrants in the study region.
Data collection procedures/ instruments
An interview pamphlet and a summative questionnaire will be useful in collecting data. The researcher will interview the participants to identify their first language and the new language that they are obligated to learn. The researcher will use the new language for interviewing the respondents to measure their proficiency levels. If need be, the researcher will outsource research assistants with high proficiency levels in the new language. The questionnaire will be structured in a special manner to quantify the level of knowledge of the new language in relation to the age and the number of years that the respondent has interacted with the people in the new resident.
Data processing and analysis
The researcher will use statistical software for the social sciences to analyse the collected data. The coding exercise will capture the age of the respondents, the new language proficiency levels, and the number of years that the respondent has taken to study the new language. The proficiency scores in both oral and written language will determine whether the respondents’ ability to acquire language is dependent on various independent variables. A correlation and regression analysis will determine the strength of the relationship between the dependent and independent variables.
Ethical principles and guidelines
The researcher will design the research, review the research instruments, and carry out the entire research with the utmost integrity. The most important aspect of carrying out the research is ensuring that there are autonomy and respect of all participants regardless of their status. While collecting data, the researcher will ensure that every participant receives fair treatment. There will be equal considerations of the interests of all the people, who will have a direct or indirect contribution to the research. The respondents will have an assurance of anonymity and confidentiality of the information that they give. Adherence to the mentioned ethical principles will enable the researcher to collect quality, reliable, and accurate data.