[MUD-Dev] DGN: Reasons for play [was: EmergentBehaviorsspawnedfrom...]

Amanda Walker amanda at alfar.com
Sun Sep 25 04:00:35 CEST 2005

On Sep 22, 2005, at 4:46 PM, Ilia Malkovitch wrote:

> This is way off topic, and a completely non-scientific question,
> but:

> Does this mean that if you (somehow artificially) managed to
> submerge a baby in an environment that contained "all" phonemes
> (or at least the majority of the phonemes from around the world),
> then this person would have a significantly easier time learning
> foreign languages and hearing nuances within them?

This is a completely non-scientific answer (I don't know of any
studies of this specific question), but here's a data point:

My father is a foreign language teacher (German, French, Russian,
and can get by in Spanish and Portuguese).  I can recall being
exposed to (and being taught to pronounce) non-English sounds,
words, and grammar as far back as I can remember, though I didn't
start language lessons until high school.

I have a great ear--I can learn the phonetics and phonology of other
languages almost effortlessly (though I have just as much trouble as
most adults at learning new vocabulary and grammatical systems).  I
don't have the "translate everything into an English equivalent"
filter that many of my classmates seemed to have, and that took them
a lot of effort to un-learn.

This puts me in the odd position of being able to read aloud in
several languages with very good pronunciation, without knowing what
I'm saying :-).

Of course, I can't generalize from one data point--I have no idea if
there was actually any cause and effect, or if having a good ear
just runs in the family (my father has the same facility).  But it's
food for thought...

Amanda Walker
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