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

A. Katz amnfn at
Fri Dec 31 01:17:52 UTC 2010


What you say about the critical period is absolutely true if what we are 
aiming for is spoken fluency and near native or native speaker ability.

But what about second language acquisition for the purpose of reading 
texts? It used to be understood that knowing a few "reading languages" for 
purposes of a wider understanding of the world was an important part of 


On Thu, 30 Dec 2010, Tom Givon wrote:

> 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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