infographic courtesy of VOX
Filed under In Transit
Tagged as linguistics, Musings
Fascinating. Amazing how some of the most difficult languages are some of the most widely spoken. I wonder how this chart would look for a native speaker of French, Chinese, Hungarian…?
That’s a great point! I’m picturing a Chinese dude scratching his head at the vast range of seemingly inaccessible Indo-European languages… It’s really interesting to see what kinds of mistakes Egyptian English-learners make regularly, like trying to translate the “verbal noun” from Arabic into English with disastrous results: “I am so exciting to speaking English with you!”
Sure L1 interference is a big problem for many. The more different L1 is from L2, naturally, the steeper the learning curve. As a “Chinese dude” who happens to have English as his first language, Chinese as his second and Japanese as his third I believe ultimately that how well one picks up another language depends also on willingness to let go of one’s “cultural baggage”. Language is culture. It is also communication.
But really if one treats language as a kind of game then he or she will solve it eventually.
Signature103, true. Part of the battle is realizing the structure and function of your L1 or L2 or L3 won’t fit with a new language. I have the sensitivity to notice the differences, but readjusting according to those differences is a slow process. I am sure you didn’t immediately take to Katakana, Hiragana and Kanji without significant practice, for example. Maybe you feel differently, but I would find it impossible to go through my day learning Arabic through osmosis–without examples and explanations for new concepts, especially considering I am surrounded by Arabic every day here in Alexandria. It would be very easy for that to turn into linguistic mush instead of a positive learning experience.
If you have any suggestions, I welcome them.
(and kudos for being a true polyglot! you’re an inspiration!)
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