Primero Hay Que Aprender Espa ñol. Ranhou Zai Xue Zhongwen. -

Tom Givon tgivon at
Fri Dec 31 00:14:45 UTC 2010

With all the fuss about what linguistics is good for, there's always the 
old tried-and-true: Second language & multilingualism. Nick Kristoff 
(see URL) may preach about it, but we (hopefully) know about it. And one 
of the thing we know, and can tell whoever would care to listen, is that 
starting instruction at high school  or college is a colossal waste of 
time, money and hope. All you get, in 95% of the cases, is 
pidginization. Want them to be fluent, grammatical bi/multi-lingual? 
Catch them at kindergarten & elementary school. There are some nice 
neuro-ling papers by Helen Neville & colleagues from the mid-1980s about 
the neurology of critical period. This is such a well-known secret, yet 
most US investment in second-language instruction is blown at the high 
school & college level. Those would make sense--only if we start the 
kids earlier.

Happy New Year,  TG

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