Research Key

The Influence of Age on English Language Proficiency: A Comparative Study of Evening and Day Schools in the Buea Municipality

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International: $20
No of pages
Qualitative research
Analytical tool
Descriptive statistics
 MS Word & PDF

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This study sought to look at the influence of age on English language proficiency: A Comparative Study of Evening and Day Schools in the Buea Municipality. Age is one of the aspects that should not be neglected when we study language proficiency.

It has been observed that young learners make some errors which older learners may not make and also there are some other errors older learners can make easily which are not common with younger learners.

We seek in this study to investigate how age influences English language proficiency.

We will compare the performance of two groups of learners (younger and older learners) in a proficiency test, draw conclusions and then make recommendations to students, the government, and teachers to help them know which attitude should be adopted when teaching the two categories of learners (younger and older learners).


The interest of scholars about the influence of age on language proficiency is not a recent matter. This started some centuries ago. Linguists have been arguing about the matter. According to Penny Urh (1996), there are diverse opinions on age and language proficiency.

Among them there is the view that younger children learn the language better than older ones; foreign language learning in school should be started in as early an age as possible, children and adults learn basically the same way; adults have longer concentration span than children; it is easier to interest and motivate children etc.

All the above opinions point to a relationship between age and language proficiency.

Statement of the Problem

In Cameroon, the English language is learned by people from different age groups. That is, while some people have their mother tongue as the first language and add English as a second language, some others learn English as their first language, again some people learn English as the third language because they have African languages, followed by French, and English comes only at the third position.

Due to these, many people learn English as adults while others learn it at a younger age. These circumstances will definitely make them face different challenges in the acquisition process.

Here, the question is how teachers can handle these two categories of learners (younger and older learners). What can students do to surmount these challenges and reach the level of English language proficiency?


The purpose of this study is to demonstrate with adequate examples that younger and older learners do not face the same challenges in learning English due to their age. The ultimate aim is to identify some of the areas of difference and make recommendations for the various stakeholders in the language teaching/learning process.


  • Identify the domains or aspects of language where the young and adult learners perform poorly.
  • Compare the mastery of the language of young learners to adult learners.
  • Analyze errors made by the two categories of learners this is young and adult learners.

The Influence of Age on English Language Proficiency: A Comparative Study of Evening and Day Schools in the Buea Municipality

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