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Re: THEORY: Bilinguals Find It Easier to Learn a Third Language

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  • J. 'Mach' Wust
    ... In the PISA tests (the OECD s Programme for International Student Assessment), German-speaking Swiss children had higher scores in language skills than
    Message 1 of 21 , Mar 3, 2013
      On Sun, 3 Mar 2013 17:11:03 -0500, Carsten Becker wrote:

      > On Sun, 3 Mar 2013 14:59:29 -0300, Leonardo Castro wrote:
      >
      >> BTW, in regard to the claim that "adults will never speak a
      >>second language as a native", it's interesting to consider that
      >>many natives will never speak "as natives" either. I mean, some
      >>people from a language dialectal zone just _can't_ speak like the
      >>natives of other places.
      >>>
      > Just an anecdote to share apropos of this – the state of
      >Baden-Württemberg even made an advertisement slogan from that
      >insight: "Wir können alles, außer Hochdeutsch" – "We can do
      >anything, except speak Standard German" :)

      In the PISA tests (the OECD's Programme for International
      Student Assessment), German-speaking Swiss children had higher
      scores in language skills than children from Germany. Of course,
      there can be lots of reasons for that, but one reason might be the
      sort of bilingualism that comes from German-speaking Swiss being
      able to consciously switch between the dialect and the standard
      language. Sadly, politics drew opposite consequences from the
      results: In order to improve children's language skills, dialect
      should be avoided in schools. Teachers should use the standard
      language exclusively, during brakes, when teaching "soft" subjects
      such as sports or music, or even in kindergarten. However, this
      increased use of the standard language has led to popular
      resistance, so there won't be much change after all, and the
      dialect will continue to be used naturally in schools.

      --
      grüess
      mach
    • G. van der Vegt
      ... Interestingly, whenever Netherlanders and Flemish Belgians are pitted against eachother in contests based on command of the Dutch language, this seems to
      Message 2 of 21 , Mar 4, 2013
        On 4 March 2013 07:27, J. 'Mach' Wust <j_mach_wust@...> wrote:
        > On Sun, 3 Mar 2013 17:11:03 -0500, Carsten Becker wrote:
        >
        >> On Sun, 3 Mar 2013 14:59:29 -0300, Leonardo Castro wrote:
        >>
        >>> BTW, in regard to the claim that "adults will never speak a
        >>>second language as a native", it's interesting to consider that
        >>>many natives will never speak "as natives" either. I mean, some
        >>>people from a language dialectal zone just _can't_ speak like the
        >>>natives of other places.
        >>>>
        >> Just an anecdote to share apropos of this – the state of
        >>Baden-Württemberg even made an advertisement slogan from that
        >>insight: "Wir können alles, außer Hochdeutsch" – "We can do
        >>anything, except speak Standard German" :)
        >
        > In the PISA tests (the OECD's Programme for International
        > Student Assessment), German-speaking Swiss children had higher
        > scores in language skills than children from Germany. Of course,
        > there can be lots of reasons for that, but one reason might be the
        > sort of bilingualism that comes from German-speaking Swiss being
        > able to consciously switch between the dialect and the standard
        > language.


        Interestingly, whenever Netherlanders and Flemish Belgians are pitted
        against eachother in contests based on command of the Dutch language,
        this seems to be echoed. The Flemish Belgians score much better on
        average, and like the German-speaking Swiss, they have more immediate
        exposure to a 'foreign' language in childhood.
      • Krista D. Casada
        I find this Chinese-Spanish translation idea humorous because, when I am struggling to express myself in Arabic (a third-ish language), it s not English (my
        Message 3 of 21 , Mar 12, 2013
          I find this Chinese-Spanish translation idea humorous because, when I am struggling to express myself in Arabic (a third-ish language), it's not English (my first) that comes out. It's Spanish (the second).

          Krista C.
          ________________________________________
          From: Constructed Languages List [CONLANG@...] on behalf of Roger Mills [romiltz@...]
          Sent: Saturday, March 02, 2013 10:42 PM
          To: CONLANG@...
          Subject: Re: THEORY: Bilinguals Find It Easier to Learn a Third Language

          --- On Sat, 3/2/13, George Corley <gacorley@...> wrote:
          On Sat, Mar 2, 2013 at 4:36 PM, MorphemeAddict <lytlesw@...> wrote:

          > On Sat, Mar 2, 2013 at 2:06 PM, Jeffrey Daniel Rollin-Jones <
          > jeff.rollin@...> wrote:
          >
          > > It probably also depends on what languages you learn.
          >
          >
          > I think not as much as you might expect. Any second language, even one very
          > similar to your L1, is still a different language with its own
          > peculiarities, and learning it will facilitate learning even a radically
          > different language.
          >

          This is certainly true for vocabulary. When I was learning Chinese, I
          would often describe the meanings of words in Spanish in my head, as well
          as English, in order to work out the different semantics and uses. It
          helps to have those multiple translations, since a simple English gloss for
          a word will not give you the myriad nuances of its meaning and usage.
          ================================================

          I'm not at all sure about this. It may also depend on the person...?

          I don't mean to boast, and I seem to have some innate love of languages...but--
          I had no trouble learning Latin, then Spanish, in high school. In college I took Italian, no problem (of course they're all closely related). I learned to read French on the fly, mainly from newspapers, back in the 50s. But enough that I could pass the Fr. reading exam in grad school (70s). STill can't speak it properly, even though I know how it's _supposed_ to sound.....

          In grad school (68-75) I took on Dutch (from reading + dictionary) then a required German reading course (vocab was easy, correct grammar wasn't , esp. the declination of the articles and adjectives.....) Plus, 3+ years of Indonesian, which never perplexed me either and which served me well when I went over there. And bits and pieces of lots of its relatives (< dictionaries and a little actual speaking in the field).

          One afternoon in grad school I sat down with a Chinese speaker and tried to figure out the tones. _That_ I just couldn't get (and I have trouble doing the tones in my own Conlang Gwr :-(((( ) Maybe formal course work would help, but at that time I wasn't really interested, sorry to say.

          I have the feeling (at least in my own mind) that the various semantic concepts (and the words associated with them, even my conlangs) are all stored in one place in the mind/brain. I can give you the words for "dog, love, eat, come, go, house"-- almost anything you might ask-- at the drop of a hat.
        • H. S. Teoh
          ... [...] I grew up with Hokkien (L1), Mandarin, English, and Malay. The first three are still in active use, but, being in Canada now, I have not used Malay
          Message 4 of 21 , Mar 12, 2013
            On Tue, Mar 12, 2013 at 02:21:47PM +0000, Krista D. Casada wrote:
            > I find this Chinese-Spanish translation idea humorous because, when I
            > am struggling to express myself in Arabic (a third-ish language), it's
            > not English (my first) that comes out. It's Spanish (the second).
            [...]

            I grew up with Hokkien (L1), Mandarin, English, and Malay. The first
            three are still in active use, but, being in Canada now, I have not used
            Malay for a very long time, and can no longer actively recall much of
            the vocabulary. Now that I've starting learning Russian, whenever I
            struggle to recall a Malay word, it's Russian that comes flooding into
            my brain instead. :-P


            T

            --
            Questions are the beginning of intelligence, but the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom.
          • Krista D. Casada
            Well, that s useful! At least your newest stays on top. My older new ones want to be first. (I occasionally have the terrible feeling that my brain is
            Message 5 of 21 , Mar 12, 2013
              Well, that's useful! At least your newest stays "on top." My older new ones want to be first. (I occasionally have the terrible feeling that my brain is divided in half, with my L1 on one side and everything else scrambling for space on the other.)

              Krista
              ________________________________________
              From: Constructed Languages List [CONLANG@...] on behalf of H. S. Teoh [hsteoh@...]
              Sent: Tuesday, March 12, 2013 9:30 AM
              To: CONLANG@...
              Subject: Re: THEORY: Bilinguals Find It Easier to Learn a Third Language

              On Tue, Mar 12, 2013 at 02:21:47PM +0000, Krista D. Casada wrote:
              > I find this Chinese-Spanish translation idea humorous because, when I
              > am struggling to express myself in Arabic (a third-ish language), it's
              > not English (my first) that comes out. It's Spanish (the second).
              [...]

              I grew up with Hokkien (L1), Mandarin, English, and Malay. The first
              three are still in active use, but, being in Canada now, I have not used
              Malay for a very long time, and can no longer actively recall much of
              the vocabulary. Now that I've starting learning Russian, whenever I
              struggle to recall a Malay word, it's Russian that comes flooding into
              my brain instead. :-P


              T

              --
              Questions are the beginning of intelligence, but the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom.
            • H. S. Teoh
              ... [...] This isn t the first time this is brought up on this list. A long while back, there was a discussion about how we seem to have separate slots for
              Message 6 of 21 , Mar 12, 2013
                On Tue, Mar 12, 2013 at 02:41:03PM +0000, Krista D. Casada wrote:
                > Well, that's useful! At least your newest stays "on top." My older new
                > ones want to be first. (I occasionally have the terrible feeling that
                > my brain is divided in half, with my L1 on one side and everything
                > else scrambling for space on the other.)
                [...]

                This isn't the first time this is brought up on this list. A long while
                back, there was a discussion about how we seem to have separate "slots"
                for the language we acquired in our youth, but after a certain age, it
                seems there's only one slot left for "foreign language", whatever that
                may be, and trying to learn more than one at a time causes one to "crowd
                out" the other(s).

                Now I'm concerned that this is happening not only to languages I
                acquired later in life, but also to childhood languages that haven't
                been in active use. :-(


                T

                --
                "You know, maybe we don't *need* enemies." "Yeah, best friends are about all I can take." -- Calvin & Hobbes
              • Paul Schleitwiler, FCM
                For those experiencing difficulty recalling a language they haven t used in some time, I suggest a method I stumbled on that works for me. Spend a day
                Message 7 of 21 , Mar 12, 2013
                  For those experiencing difficulty recalling a language they haven't used in
                  some time, I suggest a method I stumbled on that works for me.
                  Spend a day immersed in that one language, reading and listening to it,
                  speaking it aloud to yourself or others if possible. Sleep on it. The next
                  day, your old facility is back. Sort of as if you had reminded your brain
                  where the old connections were.
                  I think memory is stored inn the whole brain, like a hologram, not just a
                  few cells.

                  Interesting experiment reported recently of researchers putting human brain
                  glia cells into mice brains. The treated mice outperformed control mice in
                  learning mazes and in memory tests. Maybe it's not the size of the brain,
                  but the kind of components and their organization?
                  God bless you always, all ways,
                  Paul

                  On Tue, Mar 12, 2013 at 10:14 AM, H. S. Teoh <hsteoh@...> wrote:

                  > On Tue, Mar 12, 2013 at 02:41:03PM +0000, Krista D. Casada wrote:
                  > > Well, that's useful! At least your newest stays "on top." My older new
                  > > ones want to be first. (I occasionally have the terrible feeling that
                  > > my brain is divided in half, with my L1 on one side and everything
                  > > else scrambling for space on the other.)
                  > [...]
                  >
                  > This isn't the first time this is brought up on this list. A long while
                  > back, there was a discussion about how we seem to have separate "slots"
                  > for the language we acquired in our youth, but after a certain age, it
                  > seems there's only one slot left for "foreign language", whatever that
                  > may be, and trying to learn more than one at a time causes one to "crowd
                  > out" the other(s).
                  >
                  > Now I'm concerned that this is happening not only to languages I
                  > acquired later in life, but also to childhood languages that haven't
                  > been in active use. :-(
                  >
                  >
                  > T
                  >
                  > --
                  > "You know, maybe we don't *need* enemies." "Yeah, best friends are about
                  > all I can take." -- Calvin & Hobbes
                  >
                • Krista D. Casada
                  Interesting notions . . . ________________________________________ From: Constructed Languages List [CONLANG@LISTSERV.BROWN.EDU] on behalf of Paul
                  Message 8 of 21 , Mar 12, 2013
                    Interesting notions . . .
                    ________________________________________
                    From: Constructed Languages List [CONLANG@...] on behalf of Paul Schleitwiler, FCM [pjschleitwilerfcm@...]
                    Sent: Tuesday, March 12, 2013 12:37 PM
                    To: CONLANG@...
                    Subject: Re: THEORY: Bilinguals Find It Easier to Learn a Third Language

                    For those experiencing difficulty recalling a language they haven't used in
                    some time, I suggest a method I stumbled on that works for me.
                    Spend a day immersed in that one language, reading and listening to it,
                    speaking it aloud to yourself or others if possible. Sleep on it. The next
                    day, your old facility is back. Sort of as if you had reminded your brain
                    where the old connections were.
                    I think memory is stored inn the whole brain, like a hologram, not just a
                    few cells.

                    Interesting experiment reported recently of researchers putting human brain
                    glia cells into mice brains. The treated mice outperformed control mice in
                    learning mazes and in memory tests. Maybe it's not the size of the brain,
                    but the kind of components and their organization?
                    God bless you always, all ways,
                    Paul

                    On Tue, Mar 12, 2013 at 10:14 AM, H. S. Teoh <hsteoh@...> wrote:

                    > On Tue, Mar 12, 2013 at 02:41:03PM +0000, Krista D. Casada wrote:
                    > > Well, that's useful! At least your newest stays "on top." My older new
                    > > ones want to be first. (I occasionally have the terrible feeling that
                    > > my brain is divided in half, with my L1 on one side and everything
                    > > else scrambling for space on the other.)
                    > [...]
                    >
                    > This isn't the first time this is brought up on this list. A long while
                    > back, there was a discussion about how we seem to have separate "slots"
                    > for the language we acquired in our youth, but after a certain age, it
                    > seems there's only one slot left for "foreign language", whatever that
                    > may be, and trying to learn more than one at a time causes one to "crowd
                    > out" the other(s).
                    >
                    > Now I'm concerned that this is happening not only to languages I
                    > acquired later in life, but also to childhood languages that haven't
                    > been in active use. :-(
                    >
                    >
                    > T
                    >
                    > --
                    > "You know, maybe we don't *need* enemies." "Yeah, best friends are about
                    > all I can take." -- Calvin & Hobbes
                    >
                  • H. S. Teoh
                    On Tue, Mar 12, 2013 at 12:37:46PM -0500, Paul Schleitwiler, FCM wrote: [...] ... [...] I ve always been skeptical about the claim that intelligence is
                    Message 9 of 21 , Mar 12, 2013
                      On Tue, Mar 12, 2013 at 12:37:46PM -0500, Paul Schleitwiler, FCM wrote:
                      [...]
                      > Interesting experiment reported recently of researchers putting human
                      > brain glia cells into mice brains. The treated mice outperformed
                      > control mice in learning mazes and in memory tests. Maybe it's not the
                      > size of the brain, but the kind of components and their organization?
                      [...]

                      I've always been skeptical about the claim that intelligence is
                      correlated with brain size. I like this idea that it's what components
                      are in there, that makes the difference.


                      T

                      --
                      "Hi." "'Lo."
                    • Leonardo Castro
                      ... Someone has told me that those who want to learn several languages should learn them in order of similarity, because it will make the learning process
                      Message 10 of 21 , Mar 12, 2013
                        2013/3/12 H. S. Teoh <hsteoh@...>:
                        > On Tue, Mar 12, 2013 at 02:21:47PM +0000, Krista D. Casada wrote:
                        >> I find this Chinese-Spanish translation idea humorous because, when I
                        >> am struggling to express myself in Arabic (a third-ish language), it's
                        >> not English (my first) that comes out. It's Spanish (the second).
                        > [...]
                        >
                        > I grew up with Hokkien (L1), Mandarin, English, and Malay. The first
                        > three are still in active use, but, being in Canada now, I have not used
                        > Malay for a very long time, and can no longer actively recall much of
                        > the vocabulary. Now that I've starting learning Russian, whenever I
                        > struggle to recall a Malay word, it's Russian that comes flooding into
                        > my brain instead. :-P

                        Someone has told me that those who want to learn several languages
                        should learn them in order of similarity, because it will make the
                        learning process easier. But, as someone interested in Comparative
                        Linguistics, I tend to do the opposite.

                        >
                        >
                        > T
                        >
                        > --
                        > Questions are the beginning of intelligence, but the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom.
                      • Dustfinger Batailleur
                        This. I had a similar experience with Russian, Hebrew, and English. When I moved to Canada, Russian and English remained in use and Hebrew faded away. After
                        Message 11 of 21 , Mar 12, 2013
                          This. I had a similar experience with Russian, Hebrew, and English. When I
                          moved to Canada, Russian and English remained in use and Hebrew faded away.
                          After learning French through the school system, whenever I try to remember
                          a Hebrew word French words usually come to mind.

                          On 12 March 2013 10:30, H. S. Teoh <hsteoh@...> wrote:

                          > On Tue, Mar 12, 2013 at 02:21:47PM +0000, Krista D. Casada wrote:
                          > > I find this Chinese-Spanish translation idea humorous because, when I
                          > > am struggling to express myself in Arabic (a third-ish language), it's
                          > > not English (my first) that comes out. It's Spanish (the second).
                          > [...]
                          >
                          > I grew up with Hokkien (L1), Mandarin, English, and Malay. The first
                          > three are still in active use, but, being in Canada now, I have not used
                          > Malay for a very long time, and can no longer actively recall much of
                          > the vocabulary. Now that I've starting learning Russian, whenever I
                          > struggle to recall a Malay word, it's Russian that comes flooding into
                          > my brain instead. :-P
                          >
                          >
                          > T
                          >
                          > --
                          > Questions are the beginning of intelligence, but the fear of God is the
                          > beginning of wisdom.
                          >
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