Factors in language learning after 40

insights from a longitudinal study

Olga Kozar*, Lynda Yates

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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This study seeks to identify differences in language learning progress and experiences among 24 adult migrants, who arrived to Australia after the age of 40. The results suggest that age per se was not a reliable predictor of language learning progress. Instead, the initial English level of participants when they arrived to Australia, opportunities to use English and prior level of education were associated with considerable language learning gains. For example, participants who had a higher initial English level were able to find jobs that required them to perform a range of oral and written tasks across different domain, which further improved their level, while participants who had a low initial level were mostly unemployed. Another common factor we noted among participants with high and reasonable gains but not among those who made little progress was a proactive attitude and the use of a range of language learning strategies beyond the classroom. The study also revealed differences in age construal among participants with high and reasonable gains and those who did not improve.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)181–204
Number of pages24
JournalIRAL - International Review of Applied Linguistics in Language Teaching
Issue number2
Early online date19 Jul 2017
Publication statusPublished - 26 May 2019

Bibliographical note

Copyright de Gruyter 2019. Article originally published in International Review of Applied Linguistics in Language Teaching, 57(2), pp. 181–204. The original article can be found at https://doi.org/10.1515/iral-2015-0113. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • age
  • language learning
  • sociolinguistics
  • learners over 40
  • factors in SLA

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