[FoRK] No More Cursive?

Stephen Williams sdw at lig.net
Wed Aug 24 09:18:54 PDT 2011

I agree with Dave.  While there is a critical period for learning 
language at all and learning a language as a native speaker, it is not 
the period where you can learn the fastest.  In terms of raw bits 
acquired, a focused adult (which rarely happens) who hasn't forgotten 
how to learn (or better, has sharpened the habit) can learn much faster 
than young children.  That doesn't mean that can easily or at all get 
past the pidgin / creole level of using a language "natively", but that 
they can learn raw bits (vocabulary, etc.) faster.  Having an extensive 
existing mental language framework makes hanging new terms on those 
nodes much faster, except perhaps where the languages clash 
conceptually.  A Chinese speaker, where most language tenses aren't 
"native" to the language learning English or a Romance language with 
past pluperfect etc. for instance.

I think that adults are generally distracted by many other activities 
and tend to only allocate bits of time to something while a 5 year old 
is at something like language acquisition the whole time they are awake.


On Wed Aug 24 06:36:51 2011, Ken Ganshirt @ Yahoo wrote:
> --- On Wed, 8/24/11, Dave Long<dave.long at bluewin.ch>  wrote:
>>> According to the Critical Theory
>> Hypothesis, they may do fine, but there's a certain window
>> when second, third, fourth language skills are at their
>> peak.  Some say it ends at 6 or 7 and others say it
>> ends at puberty.  11 would fit right into that theory.
>>> Adults, on the other hand, need a lot of motivation
>> and hard work to learn one.
>> A critical period for a first language makes sense, and
>> appears to have been observed in practice.
>> For second languages, however, this seems unlikely. 
>> ...
> I don't understand why you would distinquish (first, second, third)?? It seems to me if there is a critical period for learning language it would hardly discriminate? It is during that observed critical period that it's easiest to learn language; your first and second and third, etc.
>             ...ken...

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