Re: Background

Subject: Re: Background
From: Rose Wilcox <RWILC -at- FAST -dot- DOT -dot- STATE -dot- AZ -dot- US>
Date: Thu, 3 Nov 1994 15:56:00 PST

Wow. Aren't there many types of intelligence?

Karen writes:
I think I've got the attributions straight here. Whoever said that a
person with a strong ability to learn foreign languages is obviously
quite intelligent is dead wrong. If it were true, Europeans would by
definition be smarter than Americans. And a further corollary would be
that people who can't learn foreign languages are unintelligent.
There *are* studies that suggest that folks who speak two languages
in the home as children tend to be more intelligent than those who
speak only one. This is a generalization, a tendency.
This would *not* mean that people who can't learn a foreign language
are not intelligent. There are many types of intelligence.
Some people who are skilled at technical subjects are *not*
skilled verbally.

Neither of these are true. The ability to learn foreign languages is
affected more by exposure before puberty than by native intelligence.
As for learning foreign languages, well, some people just can't. Their
brains don't work right for that. But that doesn't mean they are
Never said they were. That was your conclusion -- not a logical
conclusion either. The observation was not intended as a
*definition* of intelligence but as an *indication* of intelligence.


Frankly, as a linguist and language teacher turned technical writer,
such sentiments horrify me. I had to have proficiency in five
languages for my Ph.D. program, but I think if I'd been intelligent, I
would have just chosen a different Ph.D. program.....
The sentiments were your interpretations of my observation,
not my sentiments or beliefs. In my opinion, you leaped to
a conclusion and horrified yourself!

Also, you can be intelligent, but still make poor decisions.
You are obviously intelligent,
but misguided in your PhD choice! :-)
However, I have a sister who is a linguist, so I believe it
could happen to anyone! :-)
Fascinating field....

Maybe my original case could be stated better, however:
Verbal intelligence without a smattering of technical intelligence
will result in a writer who works better in an environment where
they format, proof, and edit technical peoples' work rather
than do direct technical writing. The best set of types of
intelligence for a tech writer will include verbal ability
and technical ability.

See the book "Seven Types of Intelligence" for an interesting
theory on types of intelligence. Sorry I cannot give a fuller
reference, as my friend has borrowed the book!

Rosie the Roving Tech Writer
rwilc -at- fast -dot- dot -dot- state -dot- az -dot- us

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