Is Listening Comprehension in a Foreign Language Affected by Age?
Research background: The development of listening comprehension in a foreign language is a complex process, interrelated with the progress in other language skills, and could be affected by numerous variables, including age. This study responds to middle-aged adults’ complaints about their difficulties in listening comprehension in English as a Foreign Language (EFL) by examining the relationship between the success in listening comprehension in EFL and age.
Gap in knowledge and Purpose of the study: Although age is considered a crucial factor in language acquisition, there is a lack of studies providing evidence on the relationship between age and listening comprehension achievement in a foreign language in adult learners. This study aimed to find out whether age is one of the significant factors affecting listening comprehension in relation to other language skills.
Methods: Quantitative data analysis was used to determine the relationship between the success in listening comprehension in EFL and age in 1,323 Czech adults. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used to compare the success in listening in three age groups, tested within five academic years. Then a generalized linear model was used to assess the relationship between the success in listening and age.
Findings and Value added: The analysis of variance has shown that the age group 21—30 achieved significantly better results in listening than the age group 41—60 at p < .05. The logistic regression curve has illustrated a gradual increase in the percentage of ‘unsuccessful listeners’ aged 25 to 52 in relation to age. Thus, the study offers empirical evidence that there is a negative correlation between the success in listening comprehension in a foreign language and age. Educators should assist adult learners in developing knowledge, skills and strategies to overcome listening comprehension difficulties with respect to increasing age.
Copyright (c) 2022 National Research University Higher School of Economics
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the Copyright Notice.