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Questions tagged [language-acquisition]

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

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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 ...
Louis Rhys's user avatar
  • 8,551
20 votes
8 answers
57k 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 ...
DPenner1's user avatar
  • 376
9 votes
3 answers
465 views

What do we know about primary language loss?

Living for the past five years in countries in which English is not the native language has left me feeling that my use of my native tongue has somewhat diminished in daily speech. When I talk to my ...
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5 votes
1 answer
3k 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 (...
Daria's user avatar
  • 153
20 votes
2 answers
882 views

Are similar languages easier for children to acquire than dissimilar ones?

When a child is first learning a language in a bilingual environment, is it easier or harder to properly acquire the two distinct languages if they are more similar? For example, is it easier for a ...
Artem Kaznatcheev's user avatar
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 ...
Artem Kaznatcheev's user avatar
13 votes
6 answers
13k 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 ...
Marcin Kotowski's user avatar
9 votes
2 answers
308 views

L2 acquisition as a factor in loss of "complex" grammatical features

Recently I came across a short text on Language Log briefly discussing a phenomenon which seems to affect certain languages. The author noticed that loss or heavy weakening of inflection during ...
czypsu's user avatar
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18 votes
10 answers
10k views

What makes a non-native English speaker sound foreign?

I'm not a native speaker. However, I have tried a lot during last 10 years to learn English at a high level of proficiency and to become fluent in conversation. However, when I talk to some of my ...
Saeed Neamati's user avatar
18 votes
5 answers
943 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 ...
Otavio Macedo's user avatar
15 votes
4 answers
687 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 ...
Joe's user avatar
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10 votes
4 answers
5k views

When is the end of the critical period?

At what age, approximately, is the end of the critical period for native language acquisition? Of course, I understand that many details surrounding the critical period are up for debate. I want to ...
JoFrhwld's user avatar
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8 votes
7 answers
15k 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 ...
Saeed Neamati's user avatar
4 votes
4 answers
551 views

Does learning ancestral languages enrich a daughter language?

[Grammarphobia.com:] The study, published in 1973, offered this breakdown of sources [of English vocabulary]: Latin: 28.34%;  French: 28.3%;   Old and Middle English, Old Norse, and Dutch: 25%; ...
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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 ...
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2 votes
1 answer
217 views

Sources on average retention rate of language based on time [closed]

I am creating a language learning app and am interested in sources/publications which offer statistics on retention rate of languages over time. For example, I have data that my product taught ...
user3871's user avatar
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