Learn Japanese with JapanesePod101.com

View topic - If it weren't for the writing system...

If it weren't for the writing system...

Japanese, general discussion on the language

Re: If it weren't for the writing system...

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Wed 09.30.2009 8:41 am

The role of "mommy speak" in child language acquisition is still not 100% clear, but it's worth noting that there are cultures in which nobody speaks to children until they can start responding. They still learn language, which is a fairly strong indication that babies do not need a particular type of input to learn language.

(As kurisuto indicates, almost no native speakers have any concept of what "easy" language is; in my experience, almost everyone focuses on the *content* rather than the vocab or grammar -- that is, a question about your hobbies is easy language even if it contains relative clauses and potential verbs.)
-Chris Kern
User avatar
Yudan Taiteki
 
Posts: 5609
Joined: Wed 11.01.2006 11:32 pm
Native language: English

Re: If it weren't for the writing system...

Postby kurisuto » Wed 09.30.2009 9:52 am

Yudan Taiteki wrote:The role of "mommy speak" in child language acquisition is still not 100% clear, but it's worth noting that there are cultures in which nobody speaks to children until they can start responding. They still learn language, which is a fairly strong indication that babies do not need a particular type of input to learn language.


It sure was worth mentioning. I had never heard about that ; I have to say it drastically changes some of my views on the subject (you know, while I don't often think about language acquisition, I naively thought what made babies learn how to speak was intimately related to the necessity to respond, a bit like, although that's not a valid comparison on many aspects, you learn how to ride a bicycle so as not to fall). That's definitely interesting, both linguistically and sociologically.
User avatar
kurisuto
 
Posts: 413
Joined: Sat 12.13.2008 11:40 am
Location: France
Native language: French
Gender: Male

Re: If it weren't for the writing system...

Postby Infidel » Wed 09.30.2009 1:34 pm

kurisuto wrote:
Yudan Taiteki wrote:The role of "mommy speak" in child language acquisition is still not 100% clear, but it's worth noting that there are cultures in which nobody speaks to children until they can start responding. They still learn language, which is a fairly strong indication that babies do not need a particular type of input to learn language.


It sure was worth mentioning. I had never heard about that ; I have to say it drastically changes some of my views on the subject (you know, while I don't often think about language acquisition, I naively thought what made babies learn how to speak was intimately related to the necessity to respond, a bit like, although that's not a valid comparison on many aspects, you learn how to ride a bicycle so as not to fall). That's definitely interesting, both linguistically and sociologically.


Hrm, I learned how to ride a bike so as not to hit the wooden fence 20 feet infront of me after my dad pushed me off.

Personally, I hate mommy speek. Especially made up words. Tone is fine, but made up words are just words the kid has to unlearn.
なるほど。
さっぱりわからん。
User avatar
Infidel
 
Posts: 3093
Joined: Sun 10.09.2005 1:12 am
Native language: 英語

Re: If it weren't for the writing system...

Postby furrykef » Wed 09.30.2009 3:12 pm

kurisuto wrote:"come here, we're going to the vet"


Funny how the pet in question always seems to disappear after you say that one. :P

Yudan Taiteki wrote:(As kurisuto indicates, almost no native speakers have any concept of what "easy" language is; in my experience, almost everyone focuses on the *content* rather than the vocab or grammar -- that is, a question about your hobbies is easy language even if it contains relative clauses and potential verbs.)


That phenomenon always reminds me of the following story from "Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!":

Richard Feynman wrote:...As the men were off getting my luggage, the lady started talking to me in Portuguese: "You speak Portuguese? How nice! How was it that you learned Portuguese?"

I replied slowly, with great effort. "First, I started to learn Spanish... then I discovered I was going to Brazil."

Now I wanted to say, "So, I learned Portuguese," but I couldn't think of the word for "so." I knew how to make BIG words, though, so I finished the sentence like this: "CONSEQUENTEMENTE, apprendi português!"

When the two men came back with the baggage, she said, "Oh, he speaks Portuguese! And with such wonderful words: CONSEQUENTEMENTE!"


Naturally, this reflects my own experience with learning Spanish. :lol:

- Kef
Founder of Learning Languages Through Video Games.
Also see my lang-8 journal, where you can help me practice Japanese (and Spanish, and Italian!)
User avatar
furrykef
 
Posts: 1572
Joined: Thu 01.10.2008 9:20 pm
Native language: Eggo (ワッフル語の方言)
Gender: Male

Re: If it weren't for the writing system...

Postby kurisuto » Wed 09.30.2009 4:17 pm

Infidel wrote:Hrm, I learned how to ride a bike so as not to hit the wooden fence 20 feet infront of me after my dad pushed me off.


The point is, you badly want to learn how to ride that damn bike :lol:

furrykef wrote:That phenomenon always reminds me of the following story from "Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!":

Richard Feynman wrote:...As the men were off getting my luggage, the lady started talking to me in Portuguese: "You speak Portuguese? How nice! How was it that you learned Portuguese?"

I replied slowly, with great effort. "First, I started to learn Spanish... then I discovered I was going to Brazil."

Now I wanted to say, "So, I learned Portuguese," but I couldn't think of the word for "so." I knew how to make BIG words, though, so I finished the sentence like this: "CONSEQUENTEMENTE, apprendi português!"

When the two men came back with the baggage, she said, "Oh, he speaks Portuguese! And with such wonderful words: CONSEQUENTEMENTE!"


Naturally, this reflects my own experience with learning Spanish. :lol:

- Kef


Are you kidding ? There were more than 3 syllables in that word ! It's huge, and if it's huge, it's intelligent. I know that.
User avatar
kurisuto
 
Posts: 413
Joined: Sat 12.13.2008 11:40 am
Location: France
Native language: French
Gender: Male

Re: If it weren't for the writing system...

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Wed 09.30.2009 9:06 pm

kurisuto wrote:
Yudan Taiteki wrote:The role of "mommy speak" in child language acquisition is still not 100% clear, but it's worth noting that there are cultures in which nobody speaks to children until they can start responding. They still learn language, which is a fairly strong indication that babies do not need a particular type of input to learn language.


It sure was worth mentioning. I had never heard about that ; I have to say it drastically changes some of my views on the subject (you know, while I don't often think about language acquisition, I naively thought what made babies learn how to speak was intimately related to the necessity to respond, a bit like, although that's not a valid comparison on many aspects, you learn how to ride a bicycle so as not to fall). That's definitely interesting, both linguistically and sociologically.


That's a common misunderstanding. Another interesting fact is that there are instances where children are born with some sort of disability that prevents them from speaking, but they're not deaf. When the disability was corrected so that they could speak, they were (almost) immediately able to begin using language as well as other children around their age who were not mute -- in other words, while we know that hearing language is essential to a child learning to speak, it seems that *speaking* is actually not necessary.
-Chris Kern
User avatar
Yudan Taiteki
 
Posts: 5609
Joined: Wed 11.01.2006 11:32 pm
Native language: English

Re: If it weren't for the writing system...

Postby kurisuto » Wed 09.30.2009 10:24 pm

Yudan Taiteki wrote:while we know that hearing language is essential to a child learning to speak, it seems that *speaking* is actually not necessary


I think sometimes simplifying things to the utmost degree can be actually pretty efficient : that a child doesn't have to know how to speak in order to learn how to speak seems rather logical.

As I said, I'm over-simplifying the issue : what you meant by the last "speaking" of your message is probably closer to "babbling" than to actually "speaking". But you know what I mean : babbling isn't a speaking practise in the sense of "trying to form sentences", it would rather be a mere articulation practise. So if we consider that "real speaking" is a combination of knowledge (of the grammar rules and vocabulary most importantly) and articulation skills, but that this knowledge can be built without actually "rendering" it, then it seems reasonable to expect from somebody who's never uttered a word to start speaking like hell if he's was given the ability to speak. Indeed, mute people can't pronounce words, but that doesn't mean they can't form sentences (they have the knowledge without the ability to render it phonically), so I think it shows the "superiority" (I can't find the word I'm looking for) of this knowledge, and that the babbling stage can take place relatively long after without hindering the ability to speak. This babbling stage would be shorter than for babies precisely because they already have the knowledge : they would babble for a particular purpose, i.e finding how to pronounce the words they know.

Now, maybe I misunderstood what you said and you weren't talking about babbling.
User avatar
kurisuto
 
Posts: 413
Joined: Sat 12.13.2008 11:40 am
Location: France
Native language: French
Gender: Male

Re: If it weren't for the writing system...

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Wed 09.30.2009 10:48 pm

Babbling and actual speaking as well; neither appear to be necessary to acquire language. The grammatical rules and vocabulary are acquired by a child through the ear, regardless of whether (or how much) they practice speaking it themselves.
-Chris Kern
User avatar
Yudan Taiteki
 
Posts: 5609
Joined: Wed 11.01.2006 11:32 pm
Native language: English

Re: If it weren't for the writing system...

Postby tōkai devotee » Thu 10.01.2009 1:42 am

Yudan Taiteki wrote:Babbling and actual speaking as well; neither appear to be necessary to acquire language. The grammatical rules and vocabulary are acquired by a child through the ear, regardless of whether (or how much) they practice speaking it themselves.



I agree with that. There is a common thought that young babies (as young as 6 weeks of age) understand language way before they actually speak it. They learn grammar, as you say by listening to the spoken word, and know what they want to say, but until they are mature enough, they cannot actually speak. For some kids this is a year later, for others it can be much later.
User avatar
tōkai devotee
 
Posts: 1113
Joined: Thu 08.02.2007 6:15 am
Native language: Australian!

Re: If it weren't for the writing system...

Postby kurisuto » Thu 10.01.2009 10:34 am

Yudan Taiteki wrote:Babbling and actual speaking as well; neither appear to be necessary to acquire language. The grammatical rules and vocabulary are acquired by a child through the ear, regardless of whether (or how much) they practice speaking it themselves.


I agree too ; in fact that's exactly what I said in my message (as the very first sentence and the part about muteness for instance clearly show) :)
User avatar
kurisuto
 
Posts: 413
Joined: Sat 12.13.2008 11:40 am
Location: France
Native language: French
Gender: Male

Previous

Return to Japanese General Discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests

cron