- Difficulty of learning languages
Many languages have been claimed to be the hardest language to learn. Assessments have been used to determine language difficulty based on the ease with which infants learn a particular language as their first language, and how challenging a language is to learn as a second language by older children or adults.
According to A. Z. Guirora in the Journal of Language Learning, the hardest part of learning a new language is pronunciation, which can result in a "foreign accent". Accents are caused by transfer between the sounds of the first and second languages, for which there are three possibilities:
- The second language phonemes are not found in the native language at all. For example, Korean does not have any phonemes corresponding to the English phonemes /f/ or /v/, so they would be completely new to Korean learners of English.
- The first language has one of the two contrasting phonemes. For example, Japanese has a /p/ sound as in the English paid, but no /f/ sound as in the English fade. Japanese learners of English need to learn a new phoneme.
- The second language phonemes both exist in the native language, but as allophones of the same phoneme. For example, in Japanese, [l] and [r] are allophones so Japanese learners of English need to learn to distinguish these sounds.
Totally new sounds do not always pose significant problems for second language learners, unless they are radically outside the classes of sound in the native language. The most difficult phoneme pairs to learn are often allophones of the same phoneme, as in Japanese learning to distinguish between /l/ and /r/.
A study on speech comprehension by German immigrants to the USA and American immigrants to Germany found that native English speakers learning German as adults had a disadvantage on certain grammatical tasks, while they had an advantage in lexical tasks compared to their native German-speaking counterparts learning English.
Native English speakers
The Foreign Service Institute (FSI) of the US Department of State has compiled approximate learning expectations for a number of languages for their professional staff (native English speakers who generally already know other languages). Of the 63 languages analyzed, the five most difficult languages to reach proficiency in speaking and reading, requiring 88 weeks (2200 class hours), are Arabic, Cantonese, Mandarin, Japanese, and Korean. The Foreign Service Institute notes that Japanese is typically more difficult to learn than other languages in this group.
- Critical period hypothesis
- International auxiliary language
- Language learning aptitude
- Language acquisition
- Language complexity
- Motivation in second language learning
- ^ Guirora, A.Z. (2006). "Empathy and second language learning". In Language Learning. 22(1).
- ^ Eckman, F. R.; Elreyes, A.; Iverson, G. K. (2003). "Some principles of second language phonology". Second Language Research 19 (3): 169–208. doi:10.1191/0267658303sr2190a. .
- ^ Cook, Vivian (2008). Second Language Learning and Language Teaching. London: Arnold. pp. 76–77. ISBN 978-0-340-95876-6. .
- ^ Scherag, A., Demuth, L., Rösler, F., Neville, H.J., Röder, B., "The effects of late acquisition of L2 and the consequences of immigration on L1 for semantic and morpho-syntactic language aspects." Cognition 93 (2004),B97-B108.
- ^ (2007)  National Virtual Translation Center
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
Learning to read — Part of a series on Reading … Wikipedia
Common European Framework of Reference for Languages — The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning, Teaching, Assessment, abbreviated as CEFR, is a guideline used to describe achievements of learners of foreign languages across Europe and, increasingly, in other countries… … Wikipedia
Anglophone pronunciation of foreign languages — The following is a list of common non native pronunciations English speakers make when trying to speak foreign languages. Much of it is due to transfer of phonological rules from English to the new language as well as differences in grammar and… … Wikipedia
History of virtual learning environments — A virtual learning environment (VLE) is a system that creates an environment designed to facilitate teachers in the management of educational courses for their students, especially a system using computer hardware and software, which involves… … Wikipedia
Language learning aptitude — According to John B. Carroll and Stanley Sapon, the authors of the Modern Language Aptitude Test, the term language learning aptitude refers to the “prediction of how well, relative to other individuals, an individual can learn a foreign language … Wikipedia
Indo-European languages — Indo European redirects here. For other uses, see Indo European (disambiguation). See also: List of Indo European languages Indo European Geographic distribution: Before the 16th century, Europe, and South, Central and Southwest Asia; today… … Wikipedia
Advanced Learning and Research Institute — Infobox University name = Advanced Learning and Research Institute established = 1999 type = Graduate president = Luigi Dadda director = address = Via G. Buffi 13, CH 6904 Lugano telephone = 0041 58 666 4706 city = Lugano country = Switzerland… … Wikipedia
Delaware languages — Delaware Spoken in United States, in modern times Canada Region Around the lower Delaware and Hudson rivers in the United States; one or two Munsee speakers in Canada; Unami groups in Oklahoma Native speakers … Wikipedia
Dyslexia — This article is about developmental dyslexia. For acquired dyslexia, see Alexia (acquired dyslexia). Dyslexia Classification and external resources ICD 10 R48.0 ICD 9 … Wikipedia
language — /lang gwij/, n. 1. a body of words and the systems for their use common to a people who are of the same community or nation, the same geographical area, or the same cultural tradition: the two languages of Belgium; a Bantu language; the French… … Universalium