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Steve's Youtube Videos - General Language Learning, Do Adults Learn Languages the way Children Do?

Do Adults Learn Languages the way Children Do?

Hi there, Steve Kaufmann here.

I got through my presentation for the conference in Moscow. If I can figure out how, I will try to make a video in Russian and also in other languages based on the slide presentation that I developed for this conference in Moscow. I was able to watch some of the other presenters, including our good friends Luca and Richard who were actually in Moscow making presentations. Luca was talking more generally about language learning and Richard was talking about how to bring up multilingual children.

Both presentations were very interesting.

I didn't sit through all of it because it was breakfast time here. I did see more of Luca's presentation than I did of Richard's and a lot of what Luca says I thoroughly agree with in terms of finding your own path, doing the things that you like to do, focusing on interesting content, staying motivated, all of the sort of aspects of attitude that are so important, making use of dead time, the advantage of modern technology and so forth and so on.

Of course, there are areas where Luca and I differ or Richard and I differ or Luca and Richard differ.

But, in essence, we don't differ because we all agree that each person has to find their own path and has to do things that they find enjoyable. One of the things Luca was pointing out or asking was whether or not we can learn the way children learn. I think he sort of implied that we can and that children have so many advantages over us in that they have more exposure to the language, they aren't inhibited, they're not afraid to make mistakes and so forth and that they are corrected all the time.

Everything that Luca said I agree with, except for one thing.

I don't believe children are corrected all the time. That's something I hear always, that children are constantly corrected by their mother or by their parents and that's why they speak their native language so well. I don't believe that. I do believe and I do agree with Luca that, essentially, the way we learn our second language is the same process as the way we learn our first language. In other words, we learn from exposure to the language. The brain starts to sort out how this language works. There are differences, of course. Some of the differences Luca pointed out. I'll go to my own experience.

I was born in Sweden.

For the first five years of my life, I only heard Swedish. Well, not only because my parents also spoke German at home, but I have no recollection of that. I do know that I arrived in Canada at the age of five only speaking Swedish. I have no recollection of moving from being a person who only spoke Swedish to a person who only spoke English. Within a year or two, I could no longer speak Swedish and I just spoke English as if it was natural.

I learned my English at school.

I learned it from my peers. I doubt if my mother ever corrected me. She might have corrected me. How much can she correct? Basically, we pick up language from exposure. I don't believe that children let's say in Canada or the U.S. whose parents are not native speakers of English will necessarily be poorer speakers of English because they'll pick it up in the school yard and in school and it won't be because they're corrected. If anything, we are corrected more often when we learn our second language at school. We're constantly corrected and we end up unable to speak that language. The difference is the amount of exposure and that's where I entirely agree with Luca.

We get so much exposure in our first language.

Some might be from our parents, some from our peers, but it's not that we're corrected it's that we get so much more exposure. Now, if we look at the differences between adults and children I can think of my own example. I was only interested in communicating. I was not interested in being corrected. I was not concerned about how I sounded. I didn't notice if I made mistakes. I gradually picked up on how things were supposed to be said.

So the children, from the point of view of attitude, the biggest advantage they have is they're not worried about how they sound, they only want to communicate.

So if we as adults were able to have a similar attitude, to just focus on communication and not worry about how we sound, we would do a lot better and we would probably become more attuned to how the language is used and naturally pick it up. So that's one difference. The children are only interested in communicating. They get a lot more exposure, they're only interested in communicating, but the process is the same.

Now, obviously, adults have certain advantages.

I should say before we move to advantages, adults have a disadvantage and that is that their brain has already kind of coalesced around one language. This now is sort of interference insofar as learning a second language, but that needn't be a big obstacle, as was the case with my moving from Swedish to English, if we get enough exposure. However, if we allow our first language to influence us then it will.

I'll use the example of my father.

My father spoke English very well. He lived in Canada for 30 years until he passed away and he was forever influenced by the way he felt English should be pronounced. As an example, there's a province in Canada called Nova Scotia. S-c-o-t-i-a, Nova Scotia, that's how it's said in English. To him, it was always Nova Scotia. To him, he felt it should be Nova Scotia. Because if he were at all interested in pronouncing it the way native speakers pronounce it, he would have said Nova Scotia.

We see all the time that we are influenced by how words are pronounced in our own language.

I've used this example that a Spanish speaker might saw or _ instead of ‘word' and kind of refuses to notice that ‘word', ‘bird', ‘heard', ‘third', the ‘o', ‘i' and ‘ea' vowel sound are all pronounced the same. So if we want to improve our pronunciation, if we pay attention to what we're listening to and if we get enough exposure, we can actually get quite close to native-like pronunciation. But very often in the case of the adult, there is that interference from his or her native language.

The other thing, if we now talk advantages, of course, is that the adult has a much larger vocabulary in his or her native language, has a broader life experience and, therefore, can learn a lot of vocabulary and can become capable of expressing quite sophisticated or complicated concepts in a new language faster than a child.

I'll use, again, my own example. Within a year of learning Czech, I can read books on history, I can understand political interviews. I don't think a four-year-old child after one year of Czech would.

So those are some of the differences, but the actual process of learning, I'm quite convinced, is very similar.

Now, again, with regard to grammar an adult may spend more time reading some grammar rules.

I'm not an extreme Krashenite. I think that reading grammar rules and studying grammar tables does help, to some extent. It helps us notice things in the language, just as being corrected, which Krashen has demonstrated in numerous research articles, has very little effect. I'm sure that's correct, but in my experience it has some effect. It's part of those little things that help us notice. Massive exposure helps us notice because, again, the first time through you don't notice a thing and by repeatedly listening and reading you start to notice more and more.

I still believe that the essential process of learning is the same.

In other words, it's largely through exposure, massive exposure, exposure to things of interest and that willingness to engage in meaningful communication. If we as adults had as much exposure as the child has and had the same attitude of not worrying about how we sound then I think probably adults can learn, maybe not quite as well when it comes to pronunciation because our brains are more sort of rigidly predetermined now to process the native language, whereas the child is more flexible in that regard. But we can learn, by and large. To different degrees we can be as successful, better on the vocabulary side, maybe less capable on the pronunciation side. Adults can learn, as well, but I do believe that, essentially, the process is the same.

If I can figure out how I can make an iMovie out of my PowerPoint keynote presentation I will do so, first in Russian and then in other languages.

Thank you for listening, bye for now.


Do Adults Learn Languages the way Children Do? ¿Los adultos aprenden idiomas como los niños? 大人は子供と同じように言語を学びますか?

Hi there, Steve Kaufmann here.

I got through my presentation for the conference in Moscow. Terminé mi presentación para la conferencia en Moscú. من از طریق سخنرانی من برای کنفرانس در مسکو رفتم. 私はモスクワでの会議のプレゼンテーションをやり遂げました。 Eu fiz a minha apresentação para a conferência em Moscou. 我听完了在莫斯科举行的会议的演讲。 If I can figure out how, I will try to make a video in Russian and also in other languages based on the slide presentation that I developed for this conference in Moscow. Si puedo averiguar cómo, intentaré hacer un video en ruso y también en otros idiomas basado en la presentación de diapositivas que desarrollé para esta conferencia en Moscú. 方法がわかれば、モスクワでのこの会議のために作成したスライドプレゼンテーションに基づいて、ロシア語と他の言語でビデオを作成しようと思います。 I was able to watch some of the other presenters, including our good friends Luca and Richard who were actually in Moscow making presentations. Pude ver a algunos de los otros presentadores, incluidos nuestros buenos amigos Luca y Richard, que en realidad estaban en Moscú haciendo presentaciones. Luca was talking more generally about language learning and Richard was talking about how to bring up multilingual children.

Both presentations were very interesting.

I didn't sit through all of it because it was breakfast time here. No me senté a través de todo porque era la hora del desayuno aquí. I did see more of Luca's presentation than I did of Richard's and a lot of what Luca says I thoroughly agree with in terms of finding your own path, doing the things that you like to do, focusing on interesting content, staying motivated, all of the sort of aspects of attitude that are so important, making use of dead time, the advantage of modern technology and so forth and so on. Vi más de la presentación de Luca que de la de Richard y estoy completamente de acuerdo con mucho de lo que dice Luca en términos de encontrar tu propio camino, hacer las cosas que te gusta hacer, enfocarte en contenido interesante, mantenerte motivado, todo el tipo de aspectos de la actitud que son tan importantes, haciendo uso del tiempo muerto, la ventaja de la tecnología moderna, etc., etc. リチャードのプレゼンテーションよりもルカのプレゼンテーションの方が多く、自分の道を見つけること、好きなことをすること、面白いコンテンツに焦点を当てること、やる気を維持することに関して、ルカが私が完全に同意していると言っていることの多くを目にしました。デッドタイムを利用したり、現代のテクノロジーの利点など、非常に重要な態度の側面。

Of course, there are areas where Luca and I differ or Richard and I differ or Luca and Richard differ.

But, in essence, we don't differ because we all agree that each person has to find their own path and has to do things that they find enjoyable. One of the things Luca was pointing out or asking was whether or not we can learn the way children learn. ルカが指摘したり尋ねたりしたことの1つは、子供たちが学ぶ方法を私たちが学ぶことができるかどうかでした。 I think he sort of implied that we can and that children have so many advantages over us in that they have more exposure to the language, they aren't inhibited, they're not afraid to make mistakes and so forth and that they are corrected all the time.

Everything that Luca said I agree with, except for one thing.

I don't believe children are corrected all the time. That's something I hear always, that children are constantly corrected by their mother or by their parents and that's why they speak their native language so well. I don't believe that. I do believe and I do agree with Luca that, essentially, the way we learn our second language is the same process as the way we learn our first language. In other words, we learn from exposure to the language. The brain starts to sort out how this language works. There are differences, of course. Some of the differences Luca pointed out. I'll go to my own experience.

I was born in Sweden.

For the first five years of my life, I only heard Swedish. Well, not only because my parents also spoke German at home, but I have no recollection of that. I do know that I arrived in Canada at the age of five only speaking Swedish. I have no recollection of moving from being a person who only spoke Swedish to a person who only spoke English. Within a year or two, I could no longer speak Swedish and I just spoke English as if it was natural.

I learned my English at school.

I learned it from my peers. Ik heb het van mijn collega's geleerd. I doubt if my mother ever corrected me. She might have corrected me. How much can she correct? Basically, we pick up language from exposure. Básicamente, recogemos el lenguaje de la exposición. I don't believe that children let's say in Canada or the U.S. whose parents are not native speakers of English will necessarily be poorer speakers of English because they'll pick it up in the school yard and in school and it won't be because they're corrected. 父母不是英语母语的人,他们的英语水平肯定会较差,因为他们会在学校和学校里接英语,而不会因为他们得到了改正。 If anything, we are corrected more often when we learn our second language at school. We're constantly corrected and we end up unable to speak that language. The difference is the amount of exposure and that's where I entirely agree with Luca.

We get so much exposure in our first language.

Some might be from our parents, some from our peers, but it's not that we're corrected it's that we get so much more exposure. Now, if we look at the differences between adults and children I can think of my own example. I was only interested in communicating. I was not interested in being corrected. I was not concerned about how I sounded. I didn't notice if I made mistakes. I gradually picked up on how things were supposed to be said.

So the children, from the point of view of attitude, the biggest advantage they have is they're not worried about how they sound, they only want to communicate. Entonces los niños, desde el punto de vista de la actitud, la mayor ventaja que tienen es que no les preocupa cómo suenan, solo quieren comunicarse.

So if we as adults were able to have a similar attitude, to just focus on communication and not worry about how we sound, we would do a lot better and we would probably become more attuned to how the language is used and naturally pick it up. So that's one difference. The children are only interested in communicating. They get a lot more exposure, they're only interested in communicating, but the process is the same.

Now, obviously, adults have certain advantages.

I should say before we move to advantages, adults have a disadvantage and that is that their brain has already kind of coalesced around one language. This now is sort of interference insofar as learning a second language, but that needn't be a big obstacle, as was the case with my moving from Swedish to English, if we get enough exposure. 就学习第二语言而言,这现在是一种干扰,但这并不会成为一个大障碍,就像我从瑞典语转向英语一样,只要我们有足够的接触能力。 However, if we allow our first language to influence us then it will.

I'll use the example of my father.

My father spoke English very well. He lived in Canada for 30 years until he passed away and he was forever influenced by the way he felt English should be pronounced. 彼は亡くなるまで30年間カナダに住んでおり、英語の発音の仕方に永遠に影響を受けていました。 As an example, there's a province in Canada called Nova Scotia. S-c-o-t-i-a, Nova Scotia, that's how it's said in English. To him, it was always Nova Scotia. To him, he felt it should be Nova Scotia. Because if he were at all interested in pronouncing it the way native speakers pronounce it, he would have said Nova Scotia. 因为如果他对以母语人士发音的方式发音很感兴趣,那么他会说新斯科舍省。

We see all the time that we are influenced by how words are pronounced in our own language.

I've used this example that a Spanish speaker might saw ____ or _____ instead of ‘word' and kind of refuses to notice that ‘word', ‘bird', ‘heard', ‘third', the ‘o', ‘i' and ‘ea' vowel sound are all pronounced the same. So if we want to improve our pronunciation, if we pay attention to what we're listening to and if we get enough exposure, we can actually get quite close to native-like pronunciation. But very often in the case of the adult, there is that interference from his or her native language. しかし、大人の場合、彼または彼女の母国語からの干渉が非常に頻繁にあります。

The other thing, if we now talk advantages, of course, is that the adult has a much larger vocabulary in his or her native language, has a broader life experience and, therefore, can learn a lot of vocabulary and can become capable of expressing quite sophisticated or complicated concepts in a new language faster than a child. もう1つは、もちろん、今私たちが利点について話す場合、大人は母国語ではるかに多くの語彙を持ち、より幅広い人生経験を持っているため、多くの語彙を学び、表現できるようになることができるということです子供よりも速い新しい言語での非常に洗練されたまたは複雑な概念。 当然,如果我们现在谈论优点,另一件事是,成年人的母语使用的词汇量大得多,生活经验更广泛,因此可以学习很多词汇并且可以表达用一种新语言学习非常复杂或复杂的概念要比孩子快。

I'll use, again, my own example. ここでも、私自身の例を使用します。 Within a year of learning Czech, I can read books on history, I can understand political interviews. チェコ語を学んでから1年以内に、歴史に関する本を読むことができ、政治面接を理解することができます。 在学习捷克语的一年之内,我可以阅读历史书籍,也可以了解政治采访。 I don't think a four-year-old child after one year of Czech would. チェコで1年経った4歳の子供はそうは思わない。

So those are some of the differences, but the actual process of learning, I'm quite convinced, is very similar. ですから、これらはいくつかの違いですが、実際の学習プロセスは非常に似ていると私は確信しています。

Now, again, with regard to grammar an adult may spend more time reading some grammar rules. 繰り返しになりますが、文法に関しては、大人はいくつかの文法規則を読むのにより多くの時間を費やす可能性があります。 Nu, nogmaals, met betrekking tot grammatica kan een volwassene meer tijd besteden aan het lezen van enkele grammaticaregels.

I'm not an extreme Krashenite. 私は極端なクラシェナイトではありません。 Ik ben geen extreme Krasheniet. I think that reading grammar rules and studying grammar tables does help, to some extent. 文法規則を読んだり、文法表を勉強したりすることは、ある程度役立つと思います。 It helps us notice things in the language, just as being corrected, which Krashen has demonstrated in numerous research articles, has very little effect. クラシェンが多くの研究記事で示した修正がほとんど効果がないのと同じように、それは私たちが言語で物事に気付くのを助けます。 它可以使我们注意到该语言中的某些事物,就像被纠正一样,而Krashen在众多研究文章中已证明这一点几乎没有效果。 I'm sure that's correct, but in my experience it has some effect. それは正しいと確信していますが、私の経験では、ある程度の効果があります。 It's part of those little things that help us notice. それは私たちが気付くのを助けるそれらのささいなことの一部です。 Massive exposure helps us notice because, again, the first time through you don't notice a thing and by repeatedly listening and reading you start to notice more and more. 大規模な露出は私たちが気付くのを助けます。なぜなら、あなたが初めて物事に気づかず、繰り返し聞いたり読んだりすることによって、あなたはますます気づき始めるからです。 大量的曝光可以帮助我们注意到,因为再次,您第一次没有注意到任何事情,而通过反复地听和读,您开始越来越注意到。

I still believe that the essential process of learning is the same. 私は今でも、学習の本質的なプロセスは同じだと信じています。

In other words, it's largely through exposure, massive exposure, exposure to things of interest and that willingness to engage in meaningful communication. 言い換えれば、それは主に露出、大規模な露出、興味のあるものへの露出、そして意味のあるコミュニケーションに従事する意欲を通してです。 If we as adults had as much exposure as the child has and had the same attitude of not worrying about how we sound then I think probably adults can learn, maybe not quite as well when it comes to pronunciation because our brains are more sort of rigidly predetermined now to process the native language, whereas the child is more flexible in that regard. 私たち大人が子供と同じくらい多くの露出を持ち、私たちの音を気にしないという同じ態度を持っていれば、おそらく大人は学ぶことができると思いますが、発音に関しては、私たちの脳はより厳格であるため、おそらくあまりよくありません子供はその点でより柔軟であるのに対し、今は母国語を処理するために事前に決定されています。 But we can learn, by and large. Aber wir können im Großen und Ganzen lernen. しかし、私たちは概して学ぶことができます。 To different degrees we can be as successful, better on the vocabulary side, maybe less capable on the pronunciation side. 程度の差はあれ、語彙の面では成功する可能性があり、発音の面では能力が低下する可能性があります。 Adults can learn, as well, but I do believe that, essentially, the process is the same. 大人も学ぶことができますが、基本的には同じプロセスだと思います。

If I can figure out how I can make an iMovie out of my PowerPoint keynote presentation I will do so, first in Russian and then in other languages. PowerPointの基調講演からiMovieを作成する方法がわかれば、最初はロシア語で、次に他の言語で作成します。 Als ik kan bedenken hoe ik een iMovie kan maken van mijn PowerPoint-keynote-presentatie, zal ik dat doen, eerst in het Russisch en daarna in andere talen. 如果我能确定如何用PowerPoint主题演讲来制作iMovie,我将首先使用俄语,然后再使用其他语言。

Thank you for listening, bye for now. 聞いてくれてありがとう、さようなら。