Thursday, January 23, 2020

Erics Wacky World of Words :: Free Essays Online

Eric's Wacky World of Words I don't work with small children with any frequency, nor have I been related to any for some years now. I am focusing instead on my own linguistic development, which is in fact rather complicated. I was born in the United States, but raised speaking French. French was my first language, and by all accounts I was a precociously fluent speaker. I learned English more or less in parallel because I needed it to talk to my father, but I used French more often in conversing with my mother. Back in the States for pre-school, I suddenly made the decision, according to my mother, that speaking French wasn't "normal" and so I wouldn't do it anymore. I would listen to her speak in French, but I spoke only in English, and she soon gave up. I became one more monolingual American child, and so discouraged my mother that by the time my brother was born, when I was 5, she didn't even bother to teach him French. I unfortunately remember nothing of my brother's language learning process, however. On a trip to France when I was 7, I by and large picked the language back up, making a conscientious effort to do so. I found, however, that while I had a fairly good intuitive grasp (being able to simply "hear" whether or not something is correct), I had lost the proper usage of such details as pronouns and less common verb conjugations. This, to me, seems like it might be consistent with the order in which languages are learned, function morphemes coming towards the end of the process: having had less time to practice and internalize these particular features of the language, they were the first to be forgotten when I quit speaking. Sadly, I can report little further progress in French. My practice has been brief and infrequent, and while I am able to communicate fairly effectively, I can only read moderately well and am almost entirely unable to write. However, in 9th grade, I began taking Spanish courses, and have done so more or less constantly for the past 4 years. Consistent with the view that adult language learning is very different (much more based in explicit memorization) than that of children, I am much more able to explicitly cite and explain rules of grammar, and to list memorized vocabulary and other words such as pronouns, than I am in French.

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