[FoRK] No More Cursive?
dave.long at bluewin.ch
Thu Aug 25 03:32:03 PDT 2011
> 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.
First, a general observation: as a child, one abstractly learns to
listen, and speak, and read, and write, concretely using the mother
tongue. With the second and successive languages, there may be many
concrete differences to assimilate, but the language skills are
there, ready to be applied. (musicians don't have to relearn "music"
when they pick up new instruments)
Second, an anecdote: in theory, if the "critical period" were really
that critical, my german (classroom study as a child) would be better
than my french (learned late-30's); in practice, it's the opposite.
(learning languages is a little like learning hockey: formal
instruction is useful to improve one's game, but it can't replace ice
>>> Adults, on the other hand, need a lot of motivation and hard work
>>> to learn one.
Many skills need a lot of motivation and hard work to learn, even if
they don't require nesting items in implicitly branching structure,
or don't require real-time "tip of the tongue" response; language
needs both. While it may be discouraging to hear kids effortlessly
rattling away in their mother tongue, adults who either (a) simply
compare performance to their past selves, or (b) make an apples-to-
apples comparison: against those small children with the equivalent
limited number of hours of language exposure, should be pleasantly
surprised at how much progress a little hard work provides.
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