Adult language learning comes closer to native speech than previously thought

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Murad AWAD  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:57
Member (2007)
English to Arabic
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Adult language learning comes closer to native speech than previously thought Mar 26

It is a very good article, it gives a better idea about learning a second language as adults. I beleive that articles like this will encourage adults to learn a second language, although that many persons thinks that it is not easy to do that!

In the study, the team looked at how native English speakers, who learned Spanish as a second language as adults, understood sentences in Spanish that contained subtle aspects of Spanish grammar that do not exist in English. Participants in the study were already advanced in Spanish, but not native speakers. The goal was to test them on aspects of Spanish that are typically difficult to learn because they don’t exist in the structure of English grammar. Errors were purposely introduced and participants were asked whether they could detect the errors.

It is a good encouragement and I beleive that it gives a better hope for a wide range of adults who wants and wishes to learn a second language.


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 12:57
Member (2003)
Danish to English
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Well of course... Mar 26

Nobody told me I couldn't acquire a new language as an adult until after I had done so. I just did, like the bumble bee that can't fly according to the scientific calculations. I learnt Danish fast and well by the immersion method alongside working hard at language school. I was 27 when I arrived in Copenhagen, and needed to manage on my own.

I studied grammar and the written language, but I picked up a lot in exactly the way a young child learns languages - by listening, observing what happened around me and what people said, asking them to repeat things until I understood. I practised myself, listened to the radio and read everything I could get my hands on. The spelling is comparatively difficult, perhaps not quite as bad as English, but for a foreigner the pronunciation is very indistinct, and Danes have trouble with spelling and written grammar too!

My husband's work involved travelling, and he was often away from home when we lived in Copenhagen. There was no Internet, and phone calls were expensive, so we had to rely on snail mail to keep in touch! Many Danes were not fluent in English then and although we had some neighbours who spoke good English, they worked, and were not always there to help me either. It was simply sink or swim.

I don't think I am that exceptional. People have always learnt languages when they needed to, admittedly with varying levels of success, but right into old age in some cases. Some have managed very well.

Learning a language does call for a determined effort, but with a good teacher and practice, most people can reach a level of fluency where they can use and enjoy a new language.


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