French Language

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Re: The answer to an age-old question?

Betty, and Mint,

I totally agree for both.  IN fact, I know I am not good at self-taught - I need the stimulation and push of an organised class.  Same with dancing - another good "brain food" activity, when learning a routine, or indeed, singing in a choir and learning a new piece.  Also the socialising in these cases helps. 

As for the twin aspect, I suspect our learning styles ARE similar, but too long since we studied together to know.

Judith
ex W1, via 47 and 11 and now [just] in 34, equidistant from Carcassonne, Narbonne and Béziers, where I hope we'll finally stay!!

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Re: The answer to an age-old question?

The twin aspect is interesting, I think, if for no ther reason than that it lends an extra "control" dimension to many of the tests. As the twins presenting the series are both medical doctors, and as they've debunked a few myths and some pseudo-science during the series, I've found it worthwhile, if a bit lightweight at times. After all, many similar programmes on the TV rely on getting the same person to try two different things and compare results, so at least this cuts the time taken by half!
I've once taught identical twins. Their personalities were clearly quite different and one of the two was certainly a leader, so unless she was prepared to try something, neither of them would do it. If you asked her sibling she would almost "check" with her sister before responding. It was a very interesting experience.
Don't want to end up a cartoon in a cartoon graveyard.
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Re: The answer to an age-old question?

Do you think there's a genetic element in ability to learn languages?
I have an idea it's linked to musical sense, and IS genetic to some extent. So in those experiments on the tv they would need to compare id. twins with none id., and siblings, and unrelated.
Then there's a difference between chatting, comprehension, reading, writing gramatically in a foreign language.
Judith - I agree with you about different methods for different people.
Husband and I taught ourselves hebrew from children's books, but just to be able to translate. We learnt a bit of grammar too - it's quite a simple language once you know the alphabet.
But neither of us can speak hebrew/ivrit.

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Re: The answer to an age-old question?

I don't think the experiment set out to look at ability, Pat. The objective was to compare methodology.
I'd say some people have more of a facility for language than others, but who knows why that is? In certain circumstances, it's certainly to do with input. A good teacher can help, but even a good teacher can't force a student to learn, if they aren't prepared or committed to putting in a lot of effort themselves.
Don't want to end up a cartoon in a cartoon graveyard.
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Re: The answer to an age-old question?

Agree 100% about commitment. My first French 'penfriend' was obliged to learn English for his job but I was learning French because I wanted to. No comparison in the results. His wife ended up doing better than he did, much to his disgust and despite lots of in-house courses, immersion stays and practice hours :-)
Be alert!! Your country needs lerts.....
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Re: The answer to an age-old question?

I totally agree about the commitment, Betty and Noisette. Hence, having a boy/girlfriend of the desired language is a huge help towards fluency.
I also think, to make progress in pronunciation and cadence, you need to be a good listener and to notice for yourself how people around you say things.

I must say, I had a slight shudder starting reading this thread about experiments on twins, as I have just come back from viewing an amazing documentary "Three Identical Strangers”, in which it turned out that twins or triplets up for adoption had been intentionally separated at birth and placed with families of different social milieux to test the effects of nature v nurture.


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Re: The answer to an age-old question?

Oh no.....
Oddly I've just read an item on the BBC news website about Cambodian "cash for surrogacy" agencies being clamped down upon and the surrogate mothers being forced by law to keep the babies until they're 18. These babies have no biology in common with the surrogate mothers. So they're being forced to nurture without the nature bit.
The world is a mad place.
Don't want to end up a cartoon in a cartoon graveyard.
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Re: The answer to an age-old question?

Yes, I read that too, Betty. It specially struck me, as my lovely daughter and son-in-law have just had a beautiful baby carried by a wonderful surrogate in Cornwall.
In the U.K. it is illegal to pay for this service; only verifiable expenses allowed. There is a move to change this, and to authorise payment of surrogates here, but my s-I-l, dd, and surrogate are hugely against this development as it would remove the present extraordinary altruism that underpins the whole undertaking here.
The subject is under much discussion in France at the moment where surrogacy is totally illegal, forcing people to go abroad. Marc-Olivier Fogel is campaigning for a change in the law to allow what I think is called GPA (gestation par autrui); he and his partner arranged their paid-for surrogacy in the US.




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