April 09, 2020, 11:50:37 PM

Author Topic: [Discussion] Language Development  (Read 2389 times)

Online JMack

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Re: [Discussion] Language Development
« Reply #15 on: October 22, 2016, 11:15:37 AM »
My daughter the Latin teacher learned Latin, French, and Ancient Greek. Then she decided to beta test a Rosetta Stone program for Arabic. Aside from the bugs in the program, and the, for her, difficult learning approach of RS, Arabic itself just didn't work for her.

Later she took linguistics in uni, and had to learn an African language with clicks and tonal pronounciation. She loved it. So who knows, maybe she'd be fine with less familiar language structures now.

As for me, pffffft. I didn't learn German much at all even after 3 years of in high school and two semesters in college.
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Offline Nora

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Re: [Discussion] Language Development
« Reply #16 on: October 22, 2016, 11:53:40 AM »
3 years is nothing. I studied Japanese 4 years, Spanish 6, and I can't speak fluently in any of those. You see how bad the average french man is at english? We all study it at least 9/10 years! You start at 8 years old, finish at 18. That's if you don't go on with it at Uni of course.
So if students can be forced to sit through weekly english classes for 10 years and then struggle like they do, you can't expect 3 years on the late to do miracles.
Early age is the best time to learn a language. I'm impressed your daughter managed to pick an african language with clicks and guttal stops and all that! They always sound so insane to understand!!
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Offline night_wrtr

Re: [Discussion] Language Development
« Reply #17 on: October 22, 2016, 02:28:36 PM »
I took a year of ancient Hebrew. It's not difficult once you learn the alphabet and the main forms of prefix/suffix that molds each words into a different meaning. You can start with the same characters for a word, usually 3 long, add a host of forms to it and it changes its meaning completely. Part of the problem people run into with translation of old Hebrew because often times the context of the word is what soldifies it's meaning. So out of context it's almost impossible.

@Gem_Cutter I think Arabic is the same way?
« Last Edit: October 22, 2016, 02:31:00 PM by night_wrtr »

Offline xiagan

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Re: [Discussion] Language Development
« Reply #18 on: October 22, 2016, 03:37:08 PM »
3 years is nothing. I studied Japanese 4 years, Spanish 6, and I can't speak fluently in any of those. You see how bad the average french man is at english? We all study it at least 9/10 years! You start at 8 years old, finish at 18. That's if you don't go on with it at Uni of course.
So if students can be forced to sit through weekly english classes for 10 years and then struggle like they do, you can't expect 3 years on the late to do miracles.
Early age is the best time to learn a language. I'm impressed your daughter managed to pick an african language with clicks and guttal stops and all that! They always sound so insane to understand!!
Early age or after twenty. I picked up Swedish at uni and after half a year it was already better than my over six years at school- French. Granted, Swedish is a lot easier than French if you know English and German, but still. Learning a language when you actually know to what purpose and when you do it voluntarily makes a big difference.

My school-English wasn't good either. It was English-speaking forums and me wanting to read the original Terry Pratchett books and not some mediocre translation* that improved my English heaps.

*not because the translator was lazy or bad but because it's damn hard to translate Pratchett's jokes into another language.... Anthill inside for example.  A translator could do either the meaning or the joke. Translating both? No chance....
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Offline The Gem Cutter

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Re: [Discussion] Language Development
« Reply #19 on: October 22, 2016, 04:44:53 PM »
Deep topics, these.  Our variances in learning results come from vastly different backgrounds, different learning styles, and those learning styles' applicability to the language but it's interesting to see them compared. My experience in Russian was nice, 47 weeks: good basic fluency with a 2500 word active vocab. Arabic... not so much hahahaha.

To set up my answer to @night_wrtr 's question about context in Arabic - it's all about roots. In English the roots must be researched by delving into Latin and other languages just so you can perceive and understand them, but rarely do people bother. There's little utility in it because there's no surety the language sticks with the root predictably, except when it does hahahah - Construct - destruct - deconstruct - but ... no prostruct? We instruct but to forget that form is not to anastruct it's ... something else, from somewhere else.

 I achieved basic fluency with a 2500 word vocabulary in Russian in 47 weeks, and was among the best in my class from a "well roundedness" perspective - similar skill across speaking, listening, and reading - because I studied the roots. Russian is closer to its roots, so one can reliably go from root to noun to adjective to verb and make it reflexive, and just keep on going. (Rock, rocky, rock the Casbah, Russian rocks that way). Meeting a strange new word, one can reliably predict what the forms and uses will be. Everyone thought I was nuts - Russian students don't DO that they said. Meh. Naysayers.

As @night_wrtr suggests, Arabic and Hebrew are very contextual - but for reasons this original thread might find useful. They are contextual and conceptually difficult because they've been locked in religious texts, slowing down adaptation and change - which is really improvement. You can only go around using "Hot-air pusher" for "jet" for so long before the people find a better word elsewhere, build a better word internally, or abbreviate it down. (Korean example, but you see my point).


 You can't change them very much because they're continually re-pressed back onto their ancient forms and that holds them back - so they don't just "have roots" - they ARE still roots. There's is change, etc., but not like the language family of English - which, as Nora's chart (and experiences) show, has changed like a nightmarish Zombie virus in a relatively short time into a really wide range.

Because the language hasn't adapted, everything is context. In English we pair verbs and prepositions to convey our meaning: talking TO someone vs. talking ABOUT someone is very, very different. In Russian, it's similar with additional lines of thought to the modality (aspect): talking to someone on a regular basis vs. talking to them on random occurrence, vs. making a point to go talk to someone - these all take different verbs. In ancient religious languages, you have very basic forms and must rely on inconsistent combinations of things to convey context - because anything locked in the Koran must remain pretty much the way it is.

TLDR: yeah, context is a sign of an undeveloped language, or being at the edge where the language  stopped, but people didn't.
« Last Edit: October 22, 2016, 04:49:14 PM by Gem_Cutter »
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Offline xiagan

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Re: [Discussion] Language Development
« Reply #20 on: October 22, 2016, 07:55:16 PM »
"Sire, I had no need of that hypothesis." (Laplace)

Offline ScarletBea

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Re: [Discussion] Language Development
« Reply #21 on: October 22, 2016, 09:41:01 PM »
^ ;D
So, do you really do a very long aaaaa to make sure it's the right one? @Saurus?
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Offline Saurus

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Re: [Discussion] Language Development
« Reply #22 on: October 22, 2016, 10:32:49 PM »
^ ;D
So, do you really do a very long aaaaa to make sure it's the right one? @Saurus?

Oh yes. I've found it's a good idea to hold the 'aaa' for at least 3-5 seconds to avoid any awkwardness. :|
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