2019 Research Article Award Winner


The AAAL Research Article award is bestowed annually upon the author or authors of a published refereed journal article which is recognized by leaders in the field to be of outstanding quality and to hold the broadest potential impact on the advancement of applied linguistic knowledge. This is a non-cash award consisting of a certificate presented to the author (a certificate will be presented to each author, if the winner is a multi-authored article).

The American Association for Applied Linguistics (AAAL) community is proud to recognize and honor the following article as the Research Award winner:n"From Early Starters to Late Finishers? A Longitudinal Study of Early Foreign Language Learning in School" by Nils Jaekel, Michael Schurig, Merle Florian, and Markus Ritter as published in the journal Language Learning (Vol 67, pp. 631-664).

Article Summary: This impressive study questions and refutes the widely held assumption that the earlier language learning begins in instructed contexts, the better language abilities children develop in the long term. There are many commendable and unique qualities of this research. The methodology of the study is sophisticated and appropriate with the use of a rigorous longitudinal design, including more than 5000 students from 31 schools and controlling for a range of cognitive and demographic background variables. The focus is on young learners, an understudied population, who are researched in real classroom contexts. The results are interesting and important both from a theoretical psycholinguistic and a “real-world” educational point of view, with a great potential to inspire further research on this timely topic and influence educational policy and practice.