the responses left on reddit address that issue, it is still too bad the
other post were removed as the conversation drifted into children
learning vs adults, expanded on shyness in general and other topics. I saved
a copy of parts of what I linked to that are now deleted but it doesn't
do the thread that existed justice.
"[–]RazzleStorm 1 point an hour ago
Sort of. Your hearing and generating of sounds not in your native language just takes immersion and focused practice. The only physical limitations are when you start getting older (40+) and have a harder time hearing certain pitches, which can effect new language sounds. In translation/interpretation circles, there are plenty of people with native proficiency of a language they didn't start learning until they were adults".
[–]Dr_Moe_Ron 18 points 2 hours ago
You’re kinda right. It is theorized that humans are born with an innate ability to acquire language. There is an invisible unit in our brain called the LAD (language acquisition device). If a child does not acquire language by the time they reach puberty, Broca’s area closes, and they won’t fully language. This is known as the critical period hypothesis. So after this period, it becomes harder to acquire a second language. Another factor is auditory discrimination, as a child is growing, they stop being able to distinguish the difference in sounds that are not present in their native language. When adults are learning a second language, they won’t be able to produce certain sounds because they do not exist in their first language. So their ability to produce certain phonemes is inhibited, but like you said, grammar and syntax can develop better.
Not an expert either, just a stoner who took a linguistics class.
[–]juliette19x 2 points 2 hours ago
I totally agree.
I moved to Germany a few years ago, and my initial language skills came from the 2 kids I was taking care of. They never made fun of me when I made a mistake or said something wrong, and would only correct me if I said something really wrong. So I always felt comfortable trying to find the right words with them.
But, say I had to take them somewhere and the person serving us or whatever didn't speak any German. I would speak to them the best I could and a lot of the time they'd be like "wtf are you saying?" I knew what I was saying wasn't completely correct, but if you were willing to try to figure out what someone was saying, you'd know what they meant. Sometimes the kids would take over and repeat what I said and then magically, the adults would understand.
Fast forward a few years, my German still isn't fluent - but I understand pretty well and can read mostly without problems. But I hate speaking. 3 common situations happen when I speak - people look at me with this like dumbfounded expression, like I'm speaking Dutch; people correct every little word I say to the point where I can't get through a sentence because I'm getting interrupted for everything or, they just switch to English. My husband gets really annoyed that I don't practice German with him and his friends, but he falls under the 2nd category, and often the 1st one too. So I get so self conscious I can't do it.
But a friend or colleague will introduce me to their child who only speaks German, and I will comfortably speak to them in German without freaking out. I also naturally speak to German babies in German, even when they can't speak back, but as soon as I go to speak to their parent I just can't do it.
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