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I just wanted compare advantages and disadvantages of age periods, but I don't know which preposition the noun "Vorteil" takes. Intuitive I've used it with "auf" but I think I was wrong and later switched it with "von". Did I do well?

Kinder haben Vorteile beim Zweitspracherwerb von Erwachsenen

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    Vorteil uses gegenüber (against), as it implies a comparison. – Ralph M. Rickenbach Jul 13 '16 at 4:12
  • The word order seems to be a bit off, too. Vorteile should be at the end of the sentence (Kinder haben beim Zweitsprachenerwerb gegenüber Erwachsenen Vorteile (or .. Erwachsenen gegenüber..). That way Vorteile .. haben encapsulates the rest which just specifies in what regard and over whom. – Chieron Jul 13 '16 at 7:41
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Your sentence

Kinder haben Vorteile beim Zweitspracherwerb von Erwachsenen.

is correct, but I'm not sure if the meaning that it transports is what you wanted to say. This sentence means:

Children are learning a second language from adults (»von jemandem« = »from somebody«), and they are having advantages during this learning.

Let's look at the other possibility you mentioned:

Kinder haben Vorteile beim Zweitspracherwerb auf Erwachsenen.

This again is a correct sentence, but it's meaning is a little bit wired. It says:

Children are standing, laying or sitting on adults (»auf jemandem« = »to be located on top of somebody«), and those kids have advantages when learning a second language.

I think, what you want to say is this:

Children who are learning a second language can do this more easy than adults, so in this discipline kids have an advantage over adults.

This is what this sentence says:

Kinder haben Vorteile beim Zweitspracherwerb gegenüber Erwachsenen.

In this constellation »gegenüber jemandem« means »opposed to somebody« or »in contrast to somebody«.

Now the sentence is very good and fully acceptable. But if you want, you can modify word order:

Kinder haben beim Zweitspracherwerb Vorteile gegenüber Erwachsenen.
or
Kinder haben gegenüber Erwachsenen Vorteile beim Zweitspracherwerb.

To me both versions sound a little bit better that the first one. There are lots of other possibilities to arrange the words, and each of them can be the best choice depending on the context. But without knowing the context, I would say your choice is within the top 3 out of more than 10 possibilities.

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  • In this sentence "Children who are learning a second language can do this more easy than adults, so in this discipline kids have an advantage over adults.", you have read my mind, congrats! – Dragut Jul 14 '16 at 15:24
  • Kann man anstatt eines gegenüber "Im Gegensatz zu" verwenden? – DerPolyglott33 Jul 15 '16 at 1:20
  • @DerPolyglott33: Nein. »... im Gegensatz zu Erwachsenen« würde bedeuten, dass Erwachsene gar keine Vorteile haben. Vergleiche: »Männer haben ein Y-Chromosom im Gegensatz zu Frauen«. Erwachsene können durchaus auch Vorteile beim Spracherwerb haben, aber Kinder haben eben mehr oder bessere Vorteile. – Hubert Schölnast Jul 15 '16 at 7:56
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Definitely, you should say:

Kinder haben Vorteile beim Zweitspracherwerb gegenüber Erwachsenen.

"Von" is not correct in this context. The sentence you wrote would mean something like:

Children have advantages regarding second-language learning of adults.

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