+1
"Learning a new language calls for no great originality of mind or critical faculty, but it does demand an eager intellectual curiosity and a constant and lively interest in the endless ways in which human ideas may be expressed. It demands quick observation first of all, reasonable ability to mimic and imitate, good powers of association and generalization, and a retentive memory. It gives healthy exercise to our mental faculties, enlivening attentiveness, quickening alertness, and heightening sensitivity. Does it increase our powers of expression in our own mother tongue? Only to a limited extent, perhaps, and this depends very much upon our previous upbringing and training."
Simon Potter, Language in the Modern World

Do you agree with Simon Potter's thoughts?
Cheers
CB
+0
Cool Breeze"Learning a new language calls for no great originality of mind or critical faculty, but it does demand an eager intellectual curiosity and a constant and lively interest in the endless ways in which human ideas may be expressed. It demands quick observation first of all, reasonable ability to mimic and imitate, good powers of association and generalization, and a retentive memory. It gives healthy exercise to our mental faculties, enlivening attentiveness, quickening alertness, and heightening sensitivity. Does it increase our powers of expression in our own mother tongue? Only to a limited extent, perhaps, and this depends very much upon our previous upbringing and training."
Simon Potter, Language in the Modern World

Do you agree with Simon Potter's thoughts?
Cheers
CB
Language in the Modern World ! A great book. I have a battered copy that I reread frequently. I particularly recommend the chapter "Language and Nationality", which is highly relevant to some of the discussions currently taking place in this forum.
Comments  
Simon Potter has described the whole process of learning a new language in a very impressive manner. I do agree with his thoughts.
Teachers: We supply a list of EFL job vacancies
 Forbes's reply was promoted to an answer.
ForbesLanguage in the Modern World ! A great book. I have a battered copy that I reread frequently. I particularly recommend the chapter "Language and Nationality", which is highly relevant to some of the discussions currently taking place in this forum.
Though I haven't read the book, I do hope to get my hands on a copy soon. Many thanks for the recommendation! Emotion: smile
Hi all

I don't disagree with Potter but I would like to add that a good grasp of the grammar and syntax of one's native language is an asset. Some people just have a flair for languages and that helps as well.

Potter's list of desirable qualities is quite long, and he doesn't consider any of the qualities 'critical', not even a retentive memory. So virtually everybody has a retentive memory? I am not so sure that kind of memory is required. Potter may have studied languages which he didn't have a chance to speak very often, or at all, and that may explain the retentive memory he cites. One does not forget one's native language if one speaks it constantly. To my mind, this also applies to foreign languages.

I must say no foreign language has increased my "powers of expression" in my mother tongue, Finnish. However, occasionally I feel tempted to take an English expression or word and twist it a little to be able to use it in Finnish and vice versa. I know if I do that when I speak or write English, my language will be labelled 'unnatural'.Emotion: smile

I would like to ask native speakers about the title of this thread: Learning a new language. If I say: Eating a raisin is easy I think I mean I eat the whole raisin, all of it, right? So, learning a new language means I learn the whole language, all of it? If it does not mean that, what is the right way to express learning the entire language? Anyway, as Potter himself writes in his book 'all linguistic knowledge is fragmentary.' No one has a complete command of even his native language, let alone a foreign language he has studied for a few years only.

How could I change learning a new language to make it refer to learning just part of the foreign language, not all of it? Could I say learning part of a foreign language? That sounds odd and awkward to me, but there must be a way to say it in English! I wish English grammar were more complicated and there were inflected forms to indicate part of a whole. In my language that grammatical case is called the partitive.

Cheers
CB
Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?
Hello

I would like to say that I believe, without formal acquisition of first language or second language learning, one learns their native language and second or foreign language differently. As I've observed, having good command of the grammar and syntax of one's native language may not contribute much to learning a new language because most of the time people are not aware of the grammar of their mother tongue. They just use it in the way they perceive.

Concerning you question about "learning a new language", though I'm not a native speaker of English, I think "learning a new language" only represents a general concept of the action. It doesn't necessarily tell you whether one's going to learn the whole or just part of the language. And if we say learning a language, the target will be proficiency of the language rather than how much is learnt. For example, one only wants to learn a new language with which they can handle daily conversation with native speakers. One may be ambitious enough to wish to reach the proficiency level comparable to that of native speakers.