Lynn Alan Eubank eubank at
Thu Mar 14 10:30:03 EST 1996

I'm interested in maturationally-induced deline and would like very
much to read more into it. Specifically, the reason I'm interested
involves knowledge of a second language: Acquired during adulthood,
second-language knowledge never attains the status of native-language, not
even after many, many years of exposure. The research area devoted to this
problem is also quite split as to the cause. Some claim that
second-language knowledge inevitably fails to attain the status of a
native language because there is a critical period for language
development. The problem here is that the situation doesn't really fit the
profile of a crit period: It's not the case that these people have never
been exposed to language, after all. Another possibility, one not
investigated in any detail, is that the human language capacity is subject
to maturationally-induced deline. But what IS maturationally-induced
deline? What do we know about it? Surely, much is known about declines
like those associated with Alzheimers, but these are not maturationally
induced, as I understand them. what I'm interested in is, well, put
simply, "why you can't teach new tricks to a perfectly healthy, but
otherwise somewhat older dog". (Sorry, the 'dog' business just popped into
mind and I just couldn't resist using it.) Does anybody know of where I
might start reading up on this matter in the neurobiological lit? (I'm not
interested in the psychological end of matters, nor in the linguistic end:
I'm a specialist in those areas and already know what the lit says;  what I
am interested in is the neuro side.)
thank you!

Lynn Eubank
Division of Linguistics
Department of English
University of North Texas
Denton, TX 76203

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