Here are the myths and statements about each one that I found interesting:
CHILDREN LEARN SECOND LANGUAGES QUICKLY AND EASILY
The requirements to communicate as a child are quite different from the requirements to communicate as an adult. The child's constructions are shorter and simpler, and vocabulary is relatively small when compared with what is necessary for adults to speak at the same level of competence in a second language as they do in their first language. The child does not have to learn as much as an adult to achieve competence in communicating. Hence there is the illusion that the child learns more quickly than the adult, whereas when controlled research is conducted, in both formal and informal learning situations, results typically indicate that adult (and adolescent) learners perform better than young children.
THE YOUNGER THE CHILD, THE MORE SKILLED IN ACQUIRING A SECOND LANGUAGE
The research suggests that younger children do not necessarily have an advantage over older children and, because of their cognitive and experiential limitations when compared to older children, are actually at a disadvantage in how quickly they learn a second language--other things being equal.
THE MORE TIME STUDENTS SPEND IN A SECOND LANGUAGE CONTEXT, THE QUICKER THEY LEARN THE LANGUAGE
Over the length of the program, children in bilingual classes, where there is exposure to the home language and to English, have been found to acquire English language skills equivalent to those acquired by children who have been in English-only programs.MYTH 4:
CHILDREN HAVE ACQUIRED A SECOND LANGUAGE ONCE THEY CAN SPEAK IT
The Canadian educator, Jim Cummins (1980a), cited research evidence from a study of 1,210 immigrant children in Canada indicating that it takes these children much longer (approximately five to seven years) to master the disembedded cognitive language skills required for the regular English curriculum than to master oral communicative skills. Cummins and others speak of the "linguistic facade,"whereby children appear to be fluent in a language because of their oral skills but have not mastered the more disembedded and decontextualized aspects of the language.
ALL CHILDREN LEARN A SECOND LANGUAGE IN THE SAME WAY
In my next entry, I would like to reveal what I believe is the real reason why children seem to pick up native accents whereas older learners typically have foreign accents.