Monday, January 15, 2007

Krashen: Foreign Language Fever?

Sent to USA Today, Jan 11
"More children learn more than one language," (Jan 9)
presents no evidence that its headline is true, other
than claims made by the owner of private language
schools for children, hardly a disinterested source.
In addition, the claim that foreign language
acquisition is "easier" for children is
oversimplified. It is true that those who begin a
second language as children have a better chance of
sounding native than those who start as adults, but
years of research on second language acquisition has
shown that older acquirers progress more quickly than
younger acquirers in the early stages (older children
are faster than younger, adults are faster than
children), and that those who begin second languages
as adults, given enough opportunity, can reach very
high levels of proficiency in second languages.
Stephen Krashen
Professor Emeritus
University of Southern California


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