I’ve seen a number of children go through the same process, and I’m asking this question because I’d love to understand them better.
Children, after relocating to a country with a language with which they are entirely unfamiliar, will often acquire a near-native accent, while adults rarely do. I ask about accents in particular as language acquisition is a very broad subject, and I’d like to focus the question on only the differences between adoption of near-native accents in adults, and the adoption of the same in children.
If the critical period hypothesis is to be believed, most of the commonly-accepted windows have been passed by 3-5 years of age. Despite this, there continues to be a significant difference from adults in the rate of near-native accent adoption, and in the plateau reached in average accent adoption, well into the early teens if not later. What would account for this inverse relationship between age and near-native accent adoption?