Questions with this tag are about the acquisition of one or more second languages. In other words any language other than the mother tongue or native language of a given speaker.

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Is Spanish a relatively easy language for Japanese people to pronounce?

Is Spanish an easy language, compared to for example English, for native speakers of Japanese to pronounce? I've heard that pronunciation is similar between the two languages, with an assumption that ...
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1answer
46 views

How can I improve my writing fluency in English? [closed]

So this is a problem I've been struggling with for quite some time now. English is a second language for me despite the fact that I've spend a lot of my childhood years in Australia (grades 1 through ...
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0answers
35 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, ...
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1answer
74 views

Does your dominant language proficiency determine the degree of possible proficiency in L2?

People who aren't english native speakers often tell me that their English is better than their native tongue, which is kinda odd since they use their native tongue most of the time. Because of ...
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0answers
73 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 ...
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4answers
114 views

Why might English be considered easy to learn and why might it be considered difficult?

I have heard claims of English being both very easy and very difficult to learn for L2 learners (in adulthood). Is it that the English writing system is difficult to learn while the language itself ...
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1answer
106 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 ...
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2answers
194 views

Am I a native English speaker? (born I Hungary, lived in US from age 3)

I'm not sure if I'm going to get any answers, but I am trying to find out whether I can qualify as a native english speaker. Here's my story: born in Hungary moved to US at age 3 spoke Hungarian ...
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3answers
121 views

Languages where the prestige or standard variety is not “clear” or “distinct”?

When learning a language you generally want to have a teach with clear pronunciation. If you're planning to learn by immersion, if it's a language spoken in several places, you want to choose the ...
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0answers
83 views

L1 memories being recalled in my L2

The situation is as follows: I have been studying my L2 for approximately 4 years. I have spent a total of 10 months immersed in the L2 environment. My current stint has been for 5 months and ...
2
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2answers
63 views

Besides lexicon and phonology, what are the biggest differences in Mandarin that are hard for Westerners to learn?

I'm dabbling in Chinese lately and of course most of the vocabulary is new and the phonology is difficult, including tones, tone sandhi, unstressed syllables, and even some aspects of the vowels and ...
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0answers
78 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
91 views

Does being educated affect the rate and the quality of second language acquisition?

People move a lot and become immigrants in other countries. Many immigrants, in every historical time frame, come to countries without an prior knowledge of the language. However, they usually learn ...
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1answer
162 views

Ranking sentences

I have a list of 15000 sentences for a new language I wish to learn. I also have the English translation of each of these sentences. Additionally, I have a 30 million word corpus for the new language. ...
3
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2answers
506 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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0answers
562 views

Common problems in second language pronunciation

Transfer of some phonetic/phonological features from the first language to a second language is common in second language acquisition. For example, aspiration is not phonemic in English. Voiceless ...
2
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0answers
495 views

Theories on L1 transfer/interference in L2 pronunciation/phonetics/phonology

What theories explain the transfer of phonetic and phonological features from the first language to a second or foreign language? How do these theories differ from each other? Such theories should ...
4
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2answers
363 views

What are the differences between the French and English [i] and how does it affect the perception?

I'm rephrasing my question after (very helpful) comments to my initial version: What are the differences between the [i] produced by French speakers (in French) and English speakers (in English)? ...
0
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1answer
42 views

How to measure importance of language? [closed]

My question is especially about how we can measure importance and choose a second language for us. It is not a secret that in a variety of aspects English is first language by its importance. So how ...
1
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0answers
141 views

To what extent do children adapt to a language which is not their mother-tongue?

In following when talking about 'native speaker' I refer to what is considered as 'mother tongue' rather than reaching a level of fluency. For the purpose of this question think of an average person ...
3
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2answers
252 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 ...
6
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1answer
247 views

Which makes more more effective vocabulary practice: L1 -> L2 or L2 -> L1?

Note: Please don't assume that because I'm asking about vocabulary, that my only method of language study is vocabulary memorization. I'm in the process of learning a couple of new languages, and am ...
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2answers
185 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 ...
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2answers
1k views

What are some of the disadvantages of learning a language through book-study as opposed to immersion?

I have been told that the best way to learn a new language is through immersion, i.e. placing oneself in an environment in which only the target language is spoken and making constant use of the ...
8
votes
1answer
268 views

What research has been done on the effects of learning Esperanto on acquiring other languages?

I have recently started learning Esperanto because I thought it would be an interesting exercise to compare and contrast it with the natural languages I speak. Anyone who has done even light research ...
5
votes
1answer
674 views

How many words do we hear in a day?

With regard to the English language, how many words is the average person likely to hear (not read) on an average day. By "how many words" I don't mean how many unique words. In other words if I hear ...
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4answers
4k views

How many “words” do I need to learn?

I am interested in learning a second language. To do this I have created a list of the 1000 most common words and phrases for a given language. I've also established sentences which contains each of ...
6
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3answers
657 views

Do native speakers of one tonal language have difficulty learning a language with more or different tones?

Have there been any studies done on say Mandarin native speakers who learn as adults other tonal languages which have more tones or which have tones different to Mandarin? I believe for instance that ...
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5answers
5k views

Is learning German easier for people who know Sanskrit, and vice versa?

I've heard many times that learning German is easier for those who speak Sanskrit, and vice versa. Is there any linguistic basis for this? What similarities exist between the two languages that may be ...
10
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1answer
231 views

Are there studies of difficulty to learn particular language depending on learner's native language?

Do you know if any studies were made to classify the difficulty to learn a particular language depending on learner's native language? There are a lot of discussions about what is the easiest or the ...
4
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0answers
109 views

What has the study of second language acquisition brought to foreign language teachers?

Learning a second language, either by immersing yourself into the culture that speaks it or by being formally taught by a fluent speaker, is an old practice in history. But the scientific study of ...
4
votes
2answers
274 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 ...