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Poll: How old were you when you started receiving input in your second language?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 18:51
SITE STAFF
Oct 13, 2008

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "How old were you when you started receiving input in your second language?".

This poll was originally submitted by Ryan Montcalm

View the poll here

A forum topic will appear each time a new poll is run. For more information, see: http://proz.com/topic/33629


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Cecilia Falk  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:51
English to Swedish
Sorry ... Oct 13, 2008

Don't understand the question!
Cecilia


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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 03:51
Spanish to English
+ ...
I dont see the point of this question Oct 13, 2008

Firts of all, I dont understand what is meant by "2nd language" - do they mean the first one learnt/acquired or my current main souce language for translation?
I began learning French in primary school, aged around 10-11 years old. When I entered secondary school I continued French and took up German. followed 2 years later by Russian. These were "formal" studies, in school.
Later I went to university and took a degree in Russian with French as secondary subject.
My current working source language is Spanish (castellano), which I acquired rather than learnt, while working in TEFL here in Spain. Apart from a (very) basic level "filler" course in my final university year, I have never "studied" Spanish per se.
All my other language "inputs" occurred prior to Spanish ... so what should my answer be to this question?


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M. Anna Kańduła  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:51
English to Polish
Me neither Oct 13, 2008

Cecilia Falk wrote:

Don't understand the question!
Cecilia


What does it mean: "receiving input in your second language"? I can't even say which is my "second" language.

Anni


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Anita du Plessis  Identity Verified
South Africa
Local time: 03:51
Member (2008)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Since early childhood Oct 13, 2008

I understand the question to be input regarding my second language, which in my case is English. My parents were both librarians and I got books as toys, I think I read my first English book when I was about eight years old and hence started a great love of English literature.

Later the other languages followed, like French, Italian and German. But I am very rusty in those languages now, because I prefer to read Afrikaans and English literature.


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Marie-Hélène Hayles  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:51
Italian to English
+ ...
Perfectly clear to me! Oct 13, 2008

It can only mean your source language, surely? Difficult to answer for those who have more than one, but easy enough to understand, I'd've thought.

I was 29 when I started learning Italian, anyway.


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 03:51
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
I'm confused too! Oct 13, 2008

My "second" language was probably Marathi, which my parents were studying and speaking when I was born. Unfortunately for my language learning, they took me 'home' to the UK around the age of three, and then moved to a city where they did not dare allow me out alone. I never learnt more than a few words of Marathi, and left India for good at the age of 10.

The second language I understood was French, which I learnt intermittently from the age of 7 and took up to BA level at about 40. I was fluent and could probably be again, but have never been to France or used it actively. I can read it without trouble.

I did four years of Latin along the way too... motivated by dreams of reading medicine.

At around 16 I started German, and did an intensive course to A-Level, then again, studied the language intermittently up to Bachelor level on different courses (I was battling with ill health in my 20s and went to three different colleges ...) I speak German more fluently than French at a basic level...

Then I married a Dane and took up Danish at the age of 28. That is now more or less my language of habitual usage or second native language, and I have lived longer in Denmark than any other country.

I studied Danish on an intensive course for foreigners for a year, but was largely self taught after that until I took a course at commercial college along with Danish sixth-formers, mainly to learn office skills. I followed this up with night school French-to-Danish and German-to-Danish at around bachelor level, and then as I approached 50 I took a postgraduate diploma in translation from Danish to English and English to Danish.

I do a few jobs from Swedish and Norwegian, though if I don't like the look of them I back out on the excuse that I am totally auto-didact and not qualified

I am functionally bilingual, and in terms of fluency etc. Danish is my second language. But it was about the fifth I actually learnt.

Take your pick!



[Edited at 2008-10-13 19:51]


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Riccardo Schiaffino  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:51
Member (2003)
English to Italian
+ ...
I'm not a computer Oct 13, 2008

I'm not a computer, so I don't "receive input".

If you mean when I started to study a second language, that was at age 11, in middle school.


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Marina Menendez  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 22:51
Member
English to Spanish
+ ...
Second vs Foreign language Oct 13, 2008

Hi colleagues!

Though the question may lead to some ambiguity, I assume Ryan resorted to 'second language' as an umbrella term that includes three 'learning processes'.
'Mother tongue' refers to the language we learn at home. Generally, it's the one our parents spoke. When parents speak more than one language, we may acquire two 'mother languages'. There is still debate as regards the status of those language (can we have two mother tongues? do we acquire both simultaneously? etc...
'Second language' refers to the language spoken in the community we live/lived in. It may be the 'mother tongue' or other language. Immigrant`s children, inhabitants of bilingual countries/ communities will usually acquire their 'mother tongue' at home and learn a second language outside it.
'Foreign language' refers to the language(s) we learn systematically, i.e. in educational contexts. The community we live in doesn't use that 'foreign language' for communication.
What is 'first language' then? Well, the language we master. It may be the mother tongue, the second tongue, or.. If we acquire a mother tongue and then migrate to a community where a different language is spoken, that 'second language' will probably become our 'first language'.

According to some scholars (Kaplan, for instance), we should distinguish 'ACQUIRING a mother/first language' and 'LEARNING a foreign language'. Acquisition, lateralization, interlanguage and learning processes may be interesting topics for another discussion ; )

My mother/first language is Spanish. At 8, I began learning English. By then I had already received input through music (I learnt lyrics by heart -Madonna, Tina turner, Barbara Streisand, The Beatles, Celine Dion among others, movies and TV programmes. I went to university and graduated as Translator and English Teacher (two different courses od study). I also studied French for six years and German (just a grasp) for two years.


Marina ; )


P.D.
Riccardo, 'input' is a long standing and core concept in language learning ; )

[Edited at 2008-10-13 16:36]


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Phillippa May Bennett
Portugal
Local time: 02:51
Portuguese to English
Well... Oct 13, 2008

If second language refers to my first foreign language, it would be French, which I was first exposed to when I was around 8/9. I then started German when I was 13 and studied it for 5 years. What I would call my real second language, in terms of strength and usage, is Portuguese, which I started studying when I was 18 at University. Portuguese and English are my habitual languages of communication.




[Edited at 2008-10-13 17:02]


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Nesrin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:51
English to Arabic
+ ...
Strange age brackets!! Oct 13, 2008

Can you seriously imagine a professional translator first ever learning a foreign language in his/her 40s, 50s or beyond? (Well until now the poll suggests that there isn't).

I'd find it more telling if the age brackets were 0-3, 4-7, 8-11, etc until the age of 20, then going by decades.



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Amy Duncan  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 22:51
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Ditto Oct 13, 2008

Riccardo Schiaffino wrote:

I'm not a computer, so I don't "receive input".

If you mean when I started to study a second language, that was at age 11, in middle school.


Yeah, I saw that "receive input" and thought, what the heck does that mean?


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Amy Duncan  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 22:51
Portuguese to English
+ ...
?? Oct 13, 2008

Nesrin wrote:

Can you seriously imagine a professional translator first ever learning a foreign language in his/her 40s, 50s or beyond? (Well until now the poll suggests that there isn't).



Why not?


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RominaZ  Identity Verified
Argentina
Member (2006)
English to Spanish
+ ...
0-10 Oct 13, 2008

Marina Menendez wrote:

(...) 'input' is a long standing and core concept in language learning ; )



Exactly! Here are some useful links for those who have not heard about Noam Chomsky and/or are not familiar with the subject.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_language_acquisition

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_language

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Language_acquisition_device


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Riccardo Schiaffino  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:51
Member (2003)
English to Italian
+ ...
Yes, but we are translators, not language teacher (at least here) Oct 13, 2008

Marina Menendez wrote:

P.D.
Riccardo, 'input' is a long standing and core concept in language learning ; )

[Edited at 2008-10-13 16:36]


Sure but I don't think it is in translation studies


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