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Re: "Usefull languages"

From:Christophe Grandsire <christophe.grandsire@...>
Date:Thursday, February 14, 2002, 7:37
En réponse à David Starner <starner@...>:

> > But that's beside the point. I'm talking about adult learning of > languages, not learning languages as a child, which is much easier and > IIRC somewhat different mentally. >
On the contrary, it's exactly at the point. I had explained that I had begun English learning at that age too, and Dutch learning only now, 15 years later. Though I began learning English at the age of 10, it took me more than 10 years of the conventional reading-writing education system to get a small level of understanding of it (and to this day I'm still unable to read an article of the Times for example). On the other hand, I took one month of Dutch now that I am 25, and I'm already good enough to speak it on an everyday basis! So the problem is really not the age when you begin learning, but the way you learn. Dutch and French people begin learning English at about the same age. Yet nearly all Dutch people reach bilingualism, while French people are usually never able to utter two words of English (yes, I'm a big exception). The only difference is that the French system is based on reading and writing, while the Dutch system is based on speaking. Unless you pretend that the French are somehow less gifted in languages than the Dutch, you're obliged to recognize that there *is* a big difference between both kinds of learning. And there's no reason why it would change with adults (in fact, it's proven by facts that it's not. And facts are more important than theory, aren't they?). Christophe. Take your life as a movie: do not let anybody else play the leading role.