9

It is not clear why some people acquire native-like competence in the spoken aspects of a second language (pronunciation, word boundary identification, etc.). Age has been suggested as a determining factor and it certainly does play a role but there's enough research to show that it is not an absolute barrier. In short, there is no absolutely critical cut ...


7

I think the most difficult thing in English is phonetics. While I can read and write in English well, I still cannot understand anything the news outlets say on the TV, not to say to understand any song. It is also a heavy effort for me to speak English, especially the vowels, actually I never know how each vowel should be pronounced so often people do not ...


6

Here are the number of times that each possessive pronoun appeared at the end of each sentence in the British National Corpus per million words: spoken fiction magazine newspaper non-acad academic misc hers 3.41 37.97 1.79 1.62 0.67 0.98 1.39 his 6.62 39.47 3.03 3.63 1.64 ...


5

What is most effective for you depends on your goal, and partly on your learning type. Basically, if you want to translate from L1 to L2, learn words in this direction. If you want to translate from L2 to L1, then the other way around. If you mostly want to be able to express yourself in the L2, then L1 to L2 is probably better (given these two choices), ...


5

In my experience learning 8+ languages, the best approach is to use the best translation (etymologically, or in terms of meaning) and/or explanation in language that I understand. That closeness helps with remembering the new vocabulary. These are really my notes to myself, they needn't be somehow consistent. I thus end up with a mixed list; in your case ...


5

I don't know of actual research, but from my personal experience: I agree that word-by-word translations will on the one hand lack features that are not available in the target language and on the other hand introduce features that are not present in the source language, which is why I wouldn't rely too much on such strict word-by-word translations either....


4

Let me share with you an experience I had in learning Russian. I was utterly incapable of pronouncing the (stressed) high central vowel transcribed y (such as in the name Gromyko). The best I could do was the English vowel in hit. (If you're from New Zealand, this is the right thing to do, it turns out.) I asked a Russian friend to listen to me pronounce ...


4

The answer to the headline question is very simple. None. Do what millions of successful language learners (and teachers) do, completely ignore linguistics. Just compare linguists and historians - you'll see that linguists are no better at learning other languages. Historically, advances in language learning have not generally come from advances in ...


4

There is generally no single policy across different countries as to what English is taught across the board. Countries in Europe and Asia default to British English - the most popular textbooks (Headway, Matters, etc.) are based on British English. I imagine this may be different in Latin American countries - but I have no data on this. A very common ...


4

Until fairly recently, pupils in elite schools in European countries began learning Latin and Greek at a very early age, and gained a high level of fluency before going on to university; this included the ability to translate into Latin and Greek (“composition”). At university a large portion of students enrolled for Classics, and a small number of these ...


4

You have to first determine how you are going to define "L1", which isn't a scientific term in linguistics. It sort of stands for "first language", in which case Russian is your L1. Though perhaps Hebrew is the first language you became fluent in, suggesting another definition. A third possibility is "dominant" ("number one", not first), so from what you say ...


4

This (strong absolute neutralization) is theoretically possible although has not yet been shown to exist. The closest case is Yawelmani, where the phonemes u:, o: are realized as [o:] everywhere. There is a well-known argument justifying the distinction, related to vowel harmony. However, the neutralization only applies to long u, and there are stem-forming ...


4

Learning the rules of phonology in a language might make the lowest levels of acquisition easier in some languages that have complicated phonologies (such as first-year Arabic or Klamath), perhaps 10% easier. It could help to reduce the chaotic appearance of the inflectional system, all of that complicated stuff about vowel changes and glides coming and ...


4

This suggests a possible meta-study on intelligibility of technical works by native and non-native speakers. A technical paper in phonology might be unintelligible because of the linguistic structure of the article, or because of the subject matter. The same is true in speech and hearing science, and various other areas. Fortunately, SPHS and phonetics ...


4

It has been claimed that markedness and sonority sequencing are universals, but whether or not they are depends very much on what is meant by "universal". The usual understanding of the notion is that there are certain properties of the language faculty that are hard-wired into "universal grammar", and those are the universals. Markedness ...


3

Really, it depends on what language you're coming from. For example, a lot of people struggle with the phonology of the language because there is a lot more to it than their native language. If you're coming from a language like Spanish with a whopping five vowels, it can be difficult to get a hang of the 21 vowels, give or take, that we have in English. I ...


3

There is no straightforward definition of what constitutes a native speaker. This is partly because there's no straightforward definition of what constitutes a language. There are vast differences between the ability of even highly educated monolinguals to utilize the complete resources of a given language. Once you factor in education, register and dialect, ...


3

There are doubtless many languages where the prestige idiom is “clearer” than many non-prestige dialects. But I can think of counter-examples. In the non-prestige “rustic” dialects of Southern France (accent du midi) people say things like “une minute” with 5 distinct syllables, “the way it is written”, while in standard (Parisian) French one says “un’ minut’...


3

Your definition of "marked phoneme" is wrong. Marked phonemes are those that are cross-linguistically relatively uncommon, and are prone to disappear during sound changes. This doesn't necessarily have anything much to do with how "hard" the sounds are to articulate. It's true that sounds with complicated articulations are often simplified (e.g. the Proto-...


3

For learning a language primarily from books, intonation and other suprasegmentals should be the most difficult, simply because non-segmental information is not shown in our writing systems. You can't learn a thing if you have no facts to go on. For learning a language primarily from the speech of native speakers, intonation should be easiest, because ...


3

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 ...


3

There is some software available. For instance, the Get Rid of Your Accent app and the many Speech Therapy Apps. When it comes to speech therapy dealing with impediments, this is often so highly individualised that it almost always requires a trained person to intervene. That is not to say that some computer-assisted solutions would not be possible or ...


3

Addressing the question in the title, the answer is no, because no single language has all phones. The question is somewhat ill-conceived, being framed in terms of "phones", since a "phone" is a concrete sound (it would be way too involved to properly explain what a "phone" is). The IPA does not have separate symbols representing the phonetically distinct ...


3

How is "L1" used in these texts you're reading? Is it a) about the influence of the L1 on the syntax and pronunciation of the L2? b) is it just about the L2 label for a new adult learned language? c) is it about cognitive development in children? For a and c it is complex and you are a very special case. For b, it's just about difficulties in learning ...


3

When I was learning German I was advised to buy a Stilwörterbuch (by Duden, as I recall) which provides this kind of context and usage. It's used like a dictionary, in that you look up the word (e.g. Verzögerungstaktik) and if it's in there it gives examples of usage, context, and idioms containing it. If you haven't got such a reference I would suggest ...


3

Many SOV languages are head final. Korean and Japanese are famous examples. In head final languages, sentences that begin with a subordinate clause are temporarily ambiguous. In other words, the listener or reader cannot be certain if the words encountered belong to the main clause or the subordinate clause. For example, "The book that we bought ...


3

In some cases this would likely be due to L1 transfer and differences in the markedness of features between the L1 and target language. Markedness in second language acquisition refers to a closed set of linguistics possibilities, ranked from most 'simple' and frequent in languages (unmarked) to most 'complex' and rare (marked). In most cases, a more marked ...


3

In part, it is due to a third factor, the local dialect of L2. In the case of French as taught in the US, to the extent that there is a characteristic American-accented version of French, it is primarily because of properties of L1 (American English). In some countries and for some languages, it is because of the properties of local L2. English is a ...


3

Since the question is tagged as "translation", the examples quoted in the question are just translation errors. There are more subtle effects that are not errors by still exhibiting the underlying language of the translated original, called shining through. Departing from the theory of translation and going to the theory of second language ...


2

(Apologies, I'm writing this comment in a way so that even passersby who have zero knowledge of Esperanto can make more sense of it) As for the research, honestly there's quite a few very easily findable online, especially via Wikipedia reference links on various pages related to Esperanto. The "open library" has a few books with research summaries in them ...


Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible