Language learners beyond early childhood are scarcely expected to reach native-like abilities in their new language, yet some do. Are these individuals uniquely gifted? If so, are such gifts innate, or the result of intense drive, optimal experience, opportunity, or something else altogether? Bringing together theory and empirical work from across disciplines, this ground-breaking book aims to better understand the perennial mystery of giftedness in language learning (GLL). Incorporating quantitative, qualitative, and case study data, this analysis demonstrates the need to reach across cognitive, neural, emotional, psychological, and social lines to understand native-likeness in a second language. All such 'outliers' face limits, potentials, and choices. What they do in the face of these is key. With this complexity in mind, specific recommendations are provided to re-orient the research toward an appreciation of the individual's role, and a clearer understanding of the inherent balance of nature and nurture in GLL.
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