Re: Tina the Techwriter Reopens the Great Debate

Subject: Re: Tina the Techwriter Reopens the Great Debate
From: Sean Hower <hokumhome -at- freehomepage -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 11 Jun 2004 13:42:57 -0700 (PDT)

Bruce Byfield wrote:
It's true that the cadence of speech often finds its way into thought, and that people might use dialect words in their thoughts. But very few people, if any, are aware of their own accent. So, to them, their thoughts won't have an accent.

Good point. But I have caught myself thinking in Japanese, and occasionally in Chinese. I've even accidentally blurted out the wrong language (started out in Japanese when I was addressing an English speaker). But I only did that once and it was really freaky! I've also been known to shout "Auch, mein Lederhosen!" in times of crisis, but that's a completely different issue.

...having people think in dialect or throwing in a few foreign phrases were the tactics of a hack.


cupton -at- syclone wrote:
If languages that we learn after the age of six are stored in a different place in the brain than our native language...

I don't remember reading anything about language after 6 being encoded in a different place in the brain. I'm curious now, can you give me a citation? Do you remember the researchers?

>From what I remember, the research on second-language acquisition it typically compares individuals with a clear motivation submersed in a culture 24 hours a day against individuals studying a language without being surmersed for just a few hours a day with a different sort of motivation. (For example, when you're immersed you have to learn the language otherwise you won't survive, especially if you don't have other coping strategies. As a foreign language learner, there is no immediate, dire motivation.) For some, this spottiness calls into question the Critical Period hypothesis that posits there is an age afterwhich it is more difficult to learn language.

Just from my own anecdotal experiences, it would seem that the languages are encoded in the same place, if not for any other reason but the fact that at the height of my language learning, I was routinely confusing grammar and vocab between the langauges. If language was encoded in different places, it would seem that such confusion would not arise (your brain would know where to go for it). But then again, I don't know how feasible that idea really is. I'm not a neurologist and I only dabbled in neurolinguistics.

Sean Hower - tech writer

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