This schema leaves two unresolved problems. First, Molfese (1976) reports no change
in degree of AER asymmetry with age for his infant subjects. This may not conflict
with the hypothesis that lateralization develops with age; measured laterality in the
infant brain may relate quite differently to "true" underlying laterality (see Krashen,
1975c, for detailed discussion). Another possible problem is Lenneberg's observation
that recovery from aphasia is better for those injured before puberty, a finding that seems
to imply right hemisphere participation in the language function until that age. Here
there are two possibilities: first, recovery need not involve the right hemisphere but may
be due to undamaged tissue on the left side assuming the language function (see, for
example, Roberts, 1958). Second, if it is indeed the right hemisphere that is responsible
for this superiority in recovery, perhaps those late-lateralized aspects of language posited
in the text play some role.
A very recent study conducted by my associates Linda Galloway and Robin Scarcella,
unpublished at the time of this writing, suggests that early second language
acquisition may be just as left hemisphere lateralized as first language. Galloway and
Scarcella administered dichotic stimuli (words in English and Spanish) to "informal"
beginning adult acquirers of English as a second language. These performers were
"picking up" English without the benefit of formal instruction and, presumably,
without using conscious learning. Galloway and Scarcella found no significant
difference in ear advantage for the first language (Spanish) and the second language
(English), with both English and Spanish stimuli yielding a right-ear advantage.