Tagged Questions

The study of language learning, especially the processes by which first languages are learned by children.

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2
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0answers
16 views

Language policies in education for Switzerland

In Switzerland there are 4 official languages, Italian, French, German and Romensch. How are the education laws on the places where each one of these languages is spoken? Do the public schools ...
2
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0answers
12 views

Language policies in education for Friesland

Friesland is a region in northern Netherlands where the Frisian language is spoken. As part of the Netherlands, Dutch is also spoken. So for natives of Frisian language there should be an educative ...
0
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0answers
17 views

What is the role of watching articulation in learning pronunciation?

It's obviously easier to pronounce and, perhaps even acquire, a sound or sequence not present in one's native language if one watches carefully a speaker's mouth. What is this phenomena called? Where ...
3
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1answer
70 views

Do native speakers of languages using logographic writing internally vocalize while reading?

I study Chinese as a second language. Listening is my strong point. When I read, I go through this process: see character  imagine myself speaking the pronunciation  think of meaning (from the ...
1
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1answer
71 views

Is it true that one can be bilingual in any pair of languages or are some languages 'incompatible' with one another when learned in childhood?

There are many stories of a child speaking several languages when his parents speak different languages. But languages can differ significantly, so I'm curious whether pairs of 'incompatible' ...
1
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1answer
43 views

How can I embed language proficiency assessment within an unrelated experiment design?

I'm in the process of designing a self-paced-reading & a grammaticality-judgment-task experiment, which should be performed by second language learners. It is crucial to the study is how the ...
0
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0answers
37 views

Common schemes for learning (Indo-)European languages

The modern European languages of Indo-European ancestry - like in the Germanic, Romanic, and Slavic branch, for example - share a lot of linguistics features. This consists of similar etymologies, ...
6
votes
3answers
92 views

A multilingual home, a pro or a con?

My question is about the appropriate number of languages for a child to learn at home. I'm Finnish and me and my husband recently moved to Finland after living in Spain a few years. My husband's first ...
1
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0answers
85 views

Two tasks in one experiment design (self-paced-reading & grammaticality judgment)

For experiment design experts, I want to know if it's possible to design an experiment on PsychoPy or Open Sesame in which the subject does a self paced reading (with measuring the reading times for ...
0
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2answers
131 views

Teaching children Spanish and Esperanto at home from non-native speakers

A question has already been asked on teaching a child a foreign language if you aren't a native speaker, but the answers are mixed - the 'right' answer says languages can be taught by a non-native ...
4
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1answer
163 views

Is language really too complex for children?

One of the maxims of universal grammar is that children's language acquisition indicates the existence of a genetically preprogrammed language faculty. Because a child cannot master certain complex ...
1
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0answers
102 views

How do homonyms impact English Language Learners comprehension?

I understand that homonyms are words that sound alike but have different meanings. They may or may not be spelled the same. For example, the word fair is spelled and pronounced the same for three ...
5
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3answers
4k views

What is the difference between native language, first language, mother tongue and L1?

Note: I'm not a linguist, and I realize I might be treading in a grey area here. I'm wondering what the differences (and/or similarities) between native language, first language, mother tongue and L1 ...
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0answers
79 views

Mastering a foreign language without staying in a country to which the language is native

I am not a native English speaker. What I would like to understand is - if a non native speaker who’s got a fairly decent command on the language (in this case say English) speaks to his or her kid in ...
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0answers
48 views

What are the main factors that define the difference between spoken and written language acquisition?

I am writing an essay and could really do with some help. I am only interested in native language acquisition at this time, there seems to be many sources available on spoken language acquisition but ...
3
votes
1answer
164 views

Is it more difficult to learn Japanese or English for a Chinese?

For Europeans it's easier to learn English than Japanese. Is the the same true for Chinese? As far as measuring difficulty I would propose the amount of hours that you need to study the language to ...
3
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1answer
96 views

Is there a term for the error whereby two commonly co-occurring words are mistakenly learned as one?

Consider the following dialogue: "How are you, Juliet?" "Ohnot too bad" The child has evidently heard people saying responding to "How are you?" with "Oh, not too bad" and has come to learn ...
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0answers
232 views

There is evidence that domesticated animals (cats or dogs) understand human language?

Some pet owners seem to be able to speak to their cats or dogs. Is there any evidence that animals understand human languages? EDIT: By understand, i mean understanding of spoken language and ...
3
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2answers
563 views

Are there marked/“hard” phonemes that are acquired very late or never by a substantial number of speakers?

Marked phonemes are those that require more effort during articulation or are "harder" to articulate. For example, the interdental fricatives /θ/ and /ð/ are considered to be marked. Marked phonemes ...
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2answers
77 views

What kinds of evidence are used in order to discover how children acquire language & what are its limitations?

Could someone help me to breakdown what this question needs me to look at specifically!? 'Assess the state of language acquisition research in terms of the types of evidence that are used to support ...
3
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2answers
106 views

Has anyone here successfully learned another language? [closed]

Has anyone here successfully learned* another language? *Learned being defined as the ability to communicate with native speakers without trouble (or basically, at an expert level). I'm curious to ...
1
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0answers
36 views

The informal word a child uses to call his/her mother is the same (or strongly similar) in many languages. Why? [duplicate]

I was rather surprised to learn that the Chinese word for "mommy" is māmā. It never surprised me to hear that this word is similar among Western languages, because of some common origin or borrowing ...
2
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1answer
133 views

Is phonics still considered a strong teaching tool for teaching reading skills?

A number of years ago there was a company called "Hooked on Phonics", which made a name for itself with a successful ad campaign, and whose aim was to emphasize connecting different phonemes of words ...
3
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2answers
253 views

What language do children think in?

If a child born in Canada is spoken to strictly in another foreign tongue other than english (ie. Italian), it is inevitable that this child will also think in Italian. When this child starts going ...
-3
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2answers
186 views

What Second Language Confers the Greatest Cognitive Benefit [closed]

If I were to learn a second language which language in the world would confer the greatest cognitive benefit to a native English speaker? Would, say, Japanese confer greater benefit than Spanish due ...
3
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2answers
155 views

Getting familiar with accents

Would it not be nice to have a site from which people can listen to different phrases in different languages with each phrase having the following characteristics, in any combination: Sample ...
3
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0answers
166 views

Do teachers of ESL need to know how first language is acquired?

In my class we are discussing teaching English as a second language. Some contend that to teach ESL we need to know the processes an theories about first language acquisition and it is not clear to me ...
2
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1answer
205 views

Would a Proto language be easy to learn?

Since English descends from Proto-Germanic, which descends from PIE, would either of those two languages be relatively easy to learn (compared to, say, Japanese), or has the language changed too much ...
5
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1answer
188 views

Studies of Twin Speak

I'm curious about language acquisition among twins. I've heard it said that they often develop their own language (of sorts) and I was wondering if anyone has done any studies of this phenomenon. Is ...
0
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0answers
162 views

Understanding English deeply like native speakers

As I have noticed, a native speaker can actually judge the essence of person, the way he's feeling, even his personality through his writing or voice. Will it be possible for a non-native English ...
8
votes
4answers
371 views

Can children learn up to 4 different languages? And how to do it?

An example is parents with different mother tongues living in a foreign country, teaching those three languages and also English. How and when should this language be taught? Can all be taught in ...
6
votes
1answer
682 views

Relationship between language similarity and ease of foreign language acquisition?

Inspired by this infographic, which lists a bunch of languages as either easy to learn, hard to learn, or medium. I noticed that all the languages in the easy category were either Romance or Germanic ...
7
votes
4answers
277 views

Can one's native medium of language be written, rather than spoken or signed?

(This is probably a poorly-formed question, but I'm really just trying to find out if there's any research in this area.) Most children pick up a spoken or signed language at an early age, and this ...
2
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2answers
137 views

What can one gain from learning language constructed for books or films, like Sindarin? [closed]

I know about people who learn, use and even develop the constructed languages created for books or films, such as Sindarin. Most of them are doing it because of a very geek interest in the topic, or ...
7
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2answers
1k views

How useful is the “pimsleur approach” for learning a new language?

I saw this video earlier today (The most important part is from 8.00 to 9.00), explaining what the "Pimsleur approach" is. It got me interested, because they claim it's the fastest method of learning ...
4
votes
2answers
277 views

How do children learn to speak compared to adults?

Why is it hard to learn a second language as an adult while the children may learn to speak more than one language more easily than adults do? If true, how can the language learning process be made ...
12
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3answers
2k views

Can I learn a new language just by listening or watching videos?

The question is a bit more specific than title would suggest, but I was not creative enough to put it so specifically into compact form. Let me explain. When I was a kid I was learning English in ...
4
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3answers
308 views

Significance of “childish errors” in mainstream language change

Over on ELU the question Is “bettern't” an OK word to use? drew me into debate about how significant "childish errors" are in the development of mainstream language. Hence, the question: Are ...
5
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1answer
170 views

Computational models of language acquisition

What are currently used computational models/frameworks of language acquisition? Desired features: models that are biologically plausible (such as neural networks). Personally, I have used ...
2
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1answer
189 views

Do infants deliberately change the words when they omit the sounds and these words are minimal pairs?

While I was studying an infant's transcript, I realized that he deleted the [l] sound in "alma" [alma], a word in Turkish meaning "do not take". When he deleted the sound, the word became [a:ma]. ...
3
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1answer
440 views

Intonation for questions in different languages and child's early language development intonations

Since my 9 months old son started pointing to things and saying 'Ahh?' with a proper question intonation, I was wondering if all other languages have the same intonation for questions as in English ...
10
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4answers
2k views

Evidence for age cutoff in foreign accent acquistion

Steven Pinker in "The Language Instinct" claims that there is strong psychological evidence for the existence of a sharp age cutoff for the ability to acquire a flawless foreign accent (I may dig up ...
11
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1answer
289 views

Is there an equivalent to the Flesch Kincaid test for measuring quality and understandability of speech?

I want to measure the quality of speech: is it higher level/lower level (vocabulary grammar etc.) and also the understandability of the speech, i.e. is the teacher using language above a student's ...
9
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3answers
284 views

General mathematical frameworks of language acquisition since Gold

Gold's theorem on the unlearnability of certain sets of languages (among them context-free ones) made several assumptions in its modeling of learning a language: At each time step the learner ...
15
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1answer
228 views

Are first words in signed languages composed of signs that babies frequently babble?

In many spoken languages, the words for "mother" and "father" are composed of sounds that babies make very early. Is there a similar trend for early words that babies babble across signed languages?
5
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1answer
96 views

Recommendations on the current state of parameters as explanation in acquisition?

In the original P&P model, we had a nice story in which there was supposed to be some finite list of principles and some finite list of parameters, the former constraining hypotheses and the ...
6
votes
6answers
3k views

Is it possible to change your mother-tongue by thinking in another language?

Once I heard from someone that your mother tongue is the language you talk in your thoughts. I've asked many people to verify the correctness of this proposition and to me, inductively this seems to ...
25
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2answers
3k views

Why do most words for “mother”, across languages, start with an [m], and for “father” with [p]/[b], but not vice versa?

It has been observed that in general, a word for "mother" tends to be based on a bilabial nasal [m] or similar consonant, and for father it tends to be [b] or [p]. This is found in many language ...
6
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4answers
470 views

When and how do children learn to distinguish languages?

At what age range are children expected to be able to distinguish languages? Are there any factors that aid children in learning this skill?
18
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9answers
753 views

Are some languages inherently harder for children to acquire?

I don't see why this shouldn't be the case. Surely children around the world don't learn to speak fluently by the same age?