37

The idea that language and thought are one and the same, that thoughts cannot exist without language, is sometimes called strong linguistic determinism or the strong Sapir-Whorf hypothesis (*). It's extremely popular among non-linguists, and shows up a lot in fiction: see George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four for one of the ur-examples. The problem is, it ...


17

These examples show that in some way thought continues even if you temporarily lose language: [neuroanatomist .. was struck with a left hemisphere haemorrage.] Over the course of 3-4 hours, she lost her inner speech, became hemiparetic, and soon realized that her utterances did not make sense, nor did those of others. In her retrospective recall of ...


13

I don't think the question of "are these two words, or one word with two forms" is particularly interesting linguistically, at least, not if you're basing the answer on the intuitions of illiterate people. If they're illiterate, they might not even have a well-defined concept of "what is a word" (even linguists don't agree entirely). To give an example from ...


12

OK, the fact of the matter is that everybody learns their own languages, in their own ways, in their own times, places, and circumstances. It is normal for kids to have several languages at home, and to pick up others as needed, by playing with other kids. Those languages either flourish through use, or wither and get forgotten by disuse, like any human ...


12

I understand you to be saying that you are a native Arabic speaker living in America. Is that correct? In that case I think this teacher has given you extremely bad advice. All professional linguists recognise the great value of learning as many languages as possible when young. Children are the best learners of languages. I assume (correct me if I am wrong) ...


12

Here's a paper that's addressed a similar phenomenon of the different realizations of /θ/ between Cantonese and Sichuanese speakers, both of which are dialects of Chinese and share similar phonetic inventories. The paper conducted production and perception comparisons between Cantonese and Sichuanese native speakers as to explore the reason for different ...


10

Spoken and signed languages are distinguished in the brain in different ways. From the perspective of perception, spoken language is processed in the cochlear nucleus of the brainstem and then the primary auditory cortex, whereas signed language is processed by the lateral geniculate nucleus in the thalamus and then the visual cortex. As for production, ...


9

Yes, there are such studies. Notably, Jakobson's Child language, aphasia and phonological universals, and David Stampe's The acquisition of phonetic representation in Chicago Linguistic Society, vol 5.


9

This is a great question without a clear answer. People have struggled to find the answer since the 1970s: Here is my 2002 paper with many references listed in Appendix A. See also my dissertation on the topic. There are many cases of two languages or two dialects with the same or similar phonological inventories (the same phonemes), which substitute ...


8

This is a very good question because it highlights the multiple terms used to describe what appears to be similar if not the same phenomena; However, as it has been pointed out above, there are contextual differences in the terms. As far as a clarification for the terms: First language and L1 are the same. L1 is the abbreviated form of first language. And ...


7

Our daughter (29 months old) is currently learning 4 languages. I am a native speaker of Swedish and Greek, while my wife is a native speaker of Turkish. We live in Sweden, so our little one is exposed to Swedish when she's at kindergarden or in contact with relatives. I talk explicitly Greek with her, while her mother speaks only Turkish. Her grandmother ...


7

The limiting factor for the average person is really the society, the environment. We humans are lazy or, from another perspective, efficient - most of us try to learn only the minimum needed to function. So just like there are certain societies where knowing two languages is totally normal and expected, there are societies where knowing three is normal, ...


7

I only have anecdotal evidence that they are not the same, but I hope it might give an explanation or at least a starting point where to research it deeper. I know someone who had a car accident and lost the ability to speak due to a head injury. She didn't lose the physical ability, but the part of her brain responsible for language was damaged. She had to ...


6

As the other poster indicated, accent is the application of native phonology to another language. However, if someone grows up speaking two languages, they would necessarily have less of an accent than someone who speaks just one language. Two languages necessarily have a larger phoneme inventory than just one, which means the speaker has more native ...


5

There has been a ton of research on the efficacy of phonics programs, but it is nearly all contentious and its significance hotly debated. Back in the early 1990s (the heyday of the Hooked On program) things got so tense and politically charged that people referred to the "Reading Wars". (Google it.) On one side were the proponents of "phonics first", who ...


5

Simultaneous and sequential bilinguals differ in regards to the time a second language was introduced, but it does not necessarily determine which language will become dominant. Assuming both languages are learned during the critical age, the dominant language will be determined not by when the language was introduced, but by where, and how often, the ...


5

Monolingualism is a common criticism of many Chomskean linguists. The issue is not so much the fact that the individuals don't speak other languages. Chomsky studied and knows many languages, taught Hebrew and even wrote his early thesis about Hebrew. Also many researchers in the generative paradigms are native speakers of other languages or study other ...


5

Let me play the devil's advocate a bit. Sorry if it looks too informal. You have not lost your English. Instead, you have acquired a new language (well, a dialect). And its name is Simple English. Living in your home country, you naturally communicate using your local dialect. Be it American English, British English, etc. Note that another, non-local ...


5

Infants can reliability perceive contrasts between sounds in various languages. However, by the age of 10-12 months, babies' ability to distinguish between contrasts important for their native language(s) continues to improve while the ability to hear non-native contrasts declines. In other words, the brain and auditory systems "tune into" aspects of the ...


5

Beginning with your very last parenthesized question, does "this" refer to the argument you quote from Wikipedia or the argument you yourself make that begins with "however"? And why does that argument begin with "however", anyhow? It's hard to make out your question, once one realizes that the machine models you refer to are essentially due to Chomsky ...


5

Being bilingual yourself, you should be able to answer this question yourself. But here's my answer: people don't usually think in a language. At least I don't. I think in a language when I am thinking about conversations (then I think in whatever language I'd use for that conversation), or when I am trying to figure something out by remembering what a ...


5

We know that words have roughly the same meanings to most members of a language community because we're able to have conversations using them and not become totally confused. You can also flip it around: a language community is a collection of people defined by the fact that they share similar meanings of words. The correlations aren't necessarily exact, ...


4

Assuming the existence of a critical period in life to learn a language that extends from early childhood to puberty and affects both the acquisition of the first language and the acquisition of the second language according to (Penfield and Roberts, 1959). In my opinion both cases are examples of bilingualism and what changes is the form of acquisition. ...


4

I work with a large number of non-native English speakers, and probably the biggest indicator of fluency for me is the use of articles (a, an, the), which is what Hippie Trail's answer covers. This is entirely observational, I do not have research to support my findings. Definite articles ("the") are missing. I think this is because in many languages, ...


4

I wrote a blog post about this very topic last week, on the International Mother Language Day. http://multilingualparenting.com/2014/02/21/mother-tongue/ There is unfortunately no clear-cut answer if you speak more than one language. The different terms are used in different contexts and for varying purposes. For me 'mother tongue' and 'native language' are ...


4

Everybody learns languages differently, depending on how they learned their own languages, how close the language they're learning is to them, what their motivations are, how hard they work, whether they're literate, whether they're intelligent, and a whole lot of other things. Therefore, there can be no method of teaching that will work best. Some ways ...


4

You have actually asked a few related but different questions here. Does learning ancestral languages enrich a subsequent language? Learning any language may enrich your native language(s): By learning the grammar rules of another language you may become more aware of grammar in your native language(s) by contrast Related languages may reintroduce you ...


4

French and Spanish are indeed members of the Romance branch, but French is an oddity within it. If you speak only English, the phonetics of Spanish are probably much easier than French sounds, so you'd probably make a quicker start in Spanish. On the other hand, if you learn French first, Spanish would then be relatively easy.


4

Learning the correct gender (and number) for referring to oneself is a very minute and relatively easy part of learning genders or noun classes (and number) generally. As such, it follows the same process, for French, English and every other language with genders or noun classes. Why easy? Generally the first and second person are among the nouns ...


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