The Korean Association for the Study of English Language and Linguistics
[ Article ]
Korea Journal of English Language and Linguistics - Vol. 20, No. 1, pp.588-612
ISSN: 1598-1398 (Print)
Print publication date 31 Mar 2020
Received 01 Oct 2020 Revised 21 Oct 2020 Accepted 25 Oct 2020

Efficacy of Early Study Abroad on Second-language English Morphosyntactic Competence: Effects of Age and Learning Contexts

Sangki Kim
Konkuk University

Copyright 2020 KASELL
This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Early study abroad (SA) continues to be a popular form of foreign language education based on the assumed benefits of immersing oneself in the target language-speaking context. Taking a comparative perspective, this study aims to confirm an association between early SA and L2 English grammatical competence. Data were collected from questionnaires and a 72-item grammaticality judgment test administered to 195 Korean high school students, which were analyzed using ANCOVA and Multiple Regression Analysis. The results confirmed that the early study-abroad context is more advantageous than the study-at-home context for English morphosyntax acquisition. The L2 English-immersion context in the L1-speaking macro-setting was beneficial only to the study-abroad group. The findings also show that length of residence is a more influential factor than the age of arrival during early SA for improving L2 English grammatical competence. It is argued that the study-abroad context facilitated L2 English grammar more effectively than did the foreign language learning or L2 English-immersion contexts; however, the length of SA was more important than the effect of age.


early study abroad, learning contexts, age effect, length of residence


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Sangki, Kim, ProfessorDepartment of English Linguistics and English LiteratureKonkuk University268 Chungwon-daero, Chungju-si,Chungcheongbuk-do 27478, KoreaTel: 010-4581-2808Email: