Skip to main content

Questions tagged [language-acquisition]

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

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
24 votes
10 answers
7k 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?
8 votes
7 answers
14k 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 ...
3 votes
2 answers
2k views

How many languages can a person reasonably know?

I was looking at this video about Japanese Kanji on youtube, and found a discussion where people were talking about learning too many languages. Several claimed that they started to forget English ...
0 votes
0 answers
51 views

Do second language learners, at times, perceive the language to be acquired as more quiet or more difficult to hear when uttered, volume independent?

Has any person experienced the perceived lowering of volume or difficulty in hearing (perception of increased noise, for example) when attempting to listen to a second language? Is the effect ...
9 votes
5 answers
5k 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 ...
3 votes
1 answer
113 views

Which papers exemplify the attrition of the L1 in the interface of language modules?

I’m intending to write my BA thesis on language attrition and I have a problem finding info. So I’m looking for papers that exemplify the attrition of the L1 in the interface of language modules (...
6 votes
1 answer
774 views

I'm having trouble understanding chomskyan linguistics

ok so I'm trying to understand the argument for an innate language faculty, and specifically Chomsky's opposition to the behaviorist model of language acquisition. Behaviorists thought that language ...
6 votes
1 answer
204 views

How do Latin American Spanish speakers acquire vosotros forms?

In travels throughout Latin America, during which I spoke Spanish learned in Spain, local people had no problem understanding my use of vosotros forms even if they lived in very isolated rural areas ...
-1 votes
1 answer
80 views

What is the reason for learning vocabulary without understanding the concept behind it

I've recently had a discussion with a friend who said that he believes that putting labels on things kills understanding. Meaning if a person learns a name for something before they learn what it ...
1 vote
0 answers
66 views

When is the telegraphic stage in English?

If you Google "telegraphic speech," many lay articles (1, 2, and the APA dictionary) mention an approximate age range of 18-24/30 months for the production of telegraphic speech. However, I ...
0 votes
0 answers
50 views

Multiple-characters vocabulary acquisition by L1 Japanese/Chinese

I am looking for any evidence/reference on how L1 Japanese or L1 Chinese people acquire their multiple hanzi/kanji vocabulary. Take as simple as 折り畳み/折叠 (to fold). Words like 食べる/吃 and 飲む/喝 are not ...
12 votes
1 answer
2k views

Is the rarity of dental sounds explained by babies not immediately having teeth?

Dental consonants, which involve the corona of the tongue contacting the teeth (typically the upper teeth) are known to be rare throughout the world’s languages. More specifically, phonemic ...
51 votes
5 answers
15k 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 ...
1 vote
0 answers
67 views

Controversy & Debate in SLA: Can I ever get concrete takeaways?

I learned Mandarin in high school and later in life (now) started becoming interested in how I was able to acquire it, i.e., the study of SLA. My goal: As of now, I hope to have concrete strategies ...
6 votes
2 answers
422 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 cascade ...
-4 votes
2 answers
94 views

Is Influence of Substratum's phonology biological? [closed]

As a follow up to a recent question (1) where it is argued that the effect of substrate on the second language is most remarkable in phonology: Do you know if this has biological reasons in production ...
7 votes
1 answer
1k views

Are analytic languages easier to learn compared to synthetic languages?

I believe the Czech linguist Karel Oliva mentioned it somewhere that analytic languages are like a hill - one can make a progress relatively easily from the beginning but there's always more to learn (...
6 votes
7 answers
25k views

How similar are Spanish and French?

I know that Spanish and French both belong to the Romance branch and they are very alike. But what I want to make clear is that how similar they are. I mean that if I have mastered one of them, how ...
0 votes
1 answer
115 views

what are ways to calculate difficulty / required time to learn specific languages

The amount of effort and time required to learn a language highly depends on the language(s) already known. For example, generally, learning a language within the same language family will be ...
22 votes
2 answers
4k views

Why do parents refer to themselves in third person?

Why do parents refer to themselves in third person, when talking to small kids? I've seen this happening in German, English and Russian and I do this myself (even though I try not to, because I think, ...
0 votes
1 answer
565 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 ...
4 votes
2 answers
192 views

When teaching word stress to ESL students, is it worth teaching secondary stress placement?

I often incorporate stress training into my classes as it is very important for intelligibility (as better awareness of stress placement will give students clearer speaking and better listening skills)...
2 votes
1 answer
238 views

Do bilinguals have smaller vocabularies in each language than monolinguals?

There is conflicting information online, and I believe search engines just push me the "pop facts" instead of the modern scientific consensus. Do native bilinguals have smaller vocabularies ...
6 votes
1 answer
782 views

Are there any audio recordings of the speech of the feral child Genie?

Genie (Susan Wiley) is the pseudonym of a feral child whose linguistic development was considered extremely important in the study of the critical period for language acquisition as she had virtually ...
1 vote
0 answers
81 views

"Ser"/"estar" acquisition in bilingual children (English-Spanish)

For the last week I've been wondering about how bilingual children (English-Spanish) might struggle with the acquisition of the "ser"/"estar" copulas, considering how these are ...
4 votes
0 answers
77 views

What are the best ways to learn to distinguish vowels?

Apologies if this question is redundant. It seems pretty basic, but I couldn't find a post that seemed relevant. If there is one, please forward it! My question is "What are the most effective ...
7 votes
4 answers
2k views

Language acquisition by 100% immersion -- any cases you know of?

I am looking for documented cases where some person or group of people learned a language (= gained ability to communicate) with no prior knowledge of the target language through being immersed in ~...
6 votes
2 answers
370 views

If someone grows up bilingually, with what accent will they speak a third language they learn as an adult?

If someone grows up bilingually (say, a Mexican-American who's a native speaker of both English and Spanish), and they learn a third language (say, Mandarin), what accent will they speak it with? (Or ...
1 vote
0 answers
39 views

Where are the original research papers on when phonemes are acquired developmentally?

I received this as a guide to when the phonemes are acquired developmentally, such as: 1-2 years - The child is able to say the following sounds in words - /p/, /b/, /m/, /n/, /t/, /d/ Where can I ...
3 votes
2 answers
181 views

What method of teaching foreign languages is more effective?

In wikipedia i found a list of methods of teaching foreign languages - language pedagogy. But it's seems that we not have a well recognized method or methods, or more effective then others, or at ...
1 vote
0 answers
35 views

Book recommendation on language acquisition of phonetics and phonology in American children?

I'm looking for answers to the following questions about language acquisition, as far as phonetics are concerned. I'm particularly interested in American English, though failing that any language ...
0 votes
3 answers
146 views

Learning linguistics for language acquisition

I am hoping to learn multiple languages (specifically, French, German, and Russian) in the near future, and I was hoping that knowing some linguistics would accelerate the process. My Questions: 1.) ...
18 votes
5 answers
940 views

Language acquisition without interactive contact with fluent speakers

Children raised in a multilingual environment learn all the languages that they are exposed to with no effort. Does the same thing happen if a child has only indirect contact with a language? For ...
2 votes
0 answers
108 views

During second language acquisition, is it common for the speech organs to get tired by speaking the second language?

I am a non-native speaker of English (I'd rather not say what my native language is). I have noticed that my speech organs (tongue, lips, jaws and also the palate but I'm not so sure if it's the ...
2 votes
0 answers
74 views

Master's degree in linguistics [closed]

I am a student of Translation Studies (Slovene-German and English-German translation) from the University of Ljubljana, currently in my final year of bachelor's degree. At the time I'm in the process ...
8 votes
4 answers
1k views

Why is the English phoneme /θ/ pronounced like /t/ in Indian accents but /s/ in Chinese accents?

The dental fricatives (/θ/ and /ð/; spelled with th) often present a challenge to non-native learners of English. Depending on the speaker's native language, different phonemes may be substituted. In ...
-6 votes
1 answer
82 views

What idea(s) do you have of 'Proto' in discussions in linguistics? [closed]

I've always been interested in the concept of 'proto' - for sort of artistic or conceptual reasons (or for conceptual art aspects). I had thought a few years ago about an art or photo or writing ...
5 votes
3 answers
478 views

As a relatively proficient heritage speaker, should I consider myself a "native" speaker, or something else?

Should heritage speakers with a decent level of proficiency (say a middle school level of reading/writing ability) consider themselves "native", or something else? "Native" would be appropriate in ...
6 votes
4 answers
1k views

How do we know that abstract words mean the same thing to all of us?

When a baby is learning a language some words must be easier to grasp. You show them a banana and say "This is a banana." You show them a train and say "This is a train." But how can we really be sure ...
11 votes
17 answers
42k views

Simultaneous bilingualism vs Sequential bilingualism

Simultaneous bilingualism (or multilangualism) is when a child acquires two (or many) languages simultaneously, for example when they are raised by parents speaking more than one language. ...
3 votes
0 answers
131 views

How do children learn to identify different languages?

A child can be raised in a sufficiently bilingual context that they learn two languages simultaneously, e.g. English & Spanish, Norwegian and Saami. The end product is that they have two ...
0 votes
1 answer
124 views

Does understanding in Russian imply understanding in English? [closed]

I am a native Russian speaker. There is a Past Continuous as well as a Past Simple tense in Russian, does that mean that my brain understands how the tenses work in English too? (English is not my ...
20 votes
8 answers
56k 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 ...
20 votes
3 answers
1k views

Are there any fundamental differences in personal pronoun acquisition across languages?

I am interest in reversal errors in personal pronoun acquisition. My knowledge comes mostly from studies done with English-speaking children, and I was wondering if there is any languages where this ...
1 vote
3 answers
1k views

Does a polyglot think in every language he speaks or only in the mother-tongue?

some teachers say if you want to speak English , think in English.Since language and thought are different as is evident from the answers to the question* Are language and thought the same?*how can ...
2 votes
1 answer
410 views

Does the study of linguistics help one to be a good speaker and good writer of languages?

Linguistics is the systematic study of languages. Some people say "What chemistry is to medicine, linguistics is to language." It is a fact that linguistics helps one to study languages ...
18 votes
7 answers
7k views

Are language and thought the same?

I want to know whether language and thought are the same. I think language enriches one's thought and thought helps one to use language better. Without language how could man think? Did they ...
5 votes
1 answer
369 views

Is Wikipedia's argument for Universal Grammar completely fallacious?

Wikipedia's article about Chomsky makes the following argument for Universal Grammar: For example, although children are exposed to only a very small and finite subset of the allowable syntactic ...
1 vote
2 answers
158 views

Do grammatically close languages tend to begin to use literal translations of some words in other senses in that other language?

Let's have an English phrase "let's have" and the Czech equivalent "mějme". Perhaps, at some point in the past, someone was translating a math textbook and didn't know how to translate "let's have" in ...
4 votes
0 answers
86 views

Second and third language "search"

In my third or fourth language, when I don't know a word or phrase, I substitute a word from my other non-native language rather than the one I obviously know in my native language. Or if I'm looking ...