One of the oldest findings in the study of the mind is that children are better at learning languages than adults. But when you bring children and adults into the lab, adults are better at any language-learning task you give them. So whatever is happening, it happens at a very different timescale than what we can study in the lab.
In this project, we are taking advantage of the fact that different people start learning English at different ages -- anything from birth to old age. We are using the Internet to get a very broad sample of people who started English and different ages and have different first languages -- a much, much more detailed survey than has ever been attempted before.
To help you get a sense of what we're learning as the project progresses, we've added some machine learning to the quiz that tries to guess your dialect. As we get more participants, the guesses will get more sophisticated, including guessing whether your native language is English.
We are also building interactive infographics to describe the data as it comes in. You can find them on our blog. The first one is available now at www.gameswithwords.org/WhichEnglish/dialect_results.html .