练习 | 时代周刊:为什么孩子比大人更容易掌握一门语言

练习 | 时代周刊:为什么孩子比大人更容易掌握一门语言

3.5分钟 66 161wpm

为什么孩子比大人更容易掌握一门语言

Loading the player...
燕山大学 刘立军 编写


TRANSCRIPT

Why kids learn languages more easily than you do

By Jamie Ducharme

LEARNING A SECOND LANGUAGE IS TRICKY AT ANY age (and it only gets tougher the longer you wait to crack open that dusty French book).

Now, in a new study, scientists have pinpointed the exact age at which your chances of reaching fluency in a second language seem to plummet: 10.

The study, published in the journal Cognition, found that it's "nearly impossible" for language learners to reach native-level fluency if they start learning a second language after 10.

But that doesn't seem to be because language skills go downhill.

It turns out you're still learning fast," says study co-author Joshua Hartshorne, an assistant professor of psychology at Boston College.

"It's just that you run out of time, because your ability to learn starts dropping at around 17 or 18 years old."

People who start a few years after age 10 may still become quite good at a language, the authors say, but they are unlikely to become fluent.

Kids may be better than adults at learning new languages for many reasons.

Children’s brains are more plastic than those of adults, meaning they’re better able to adapt and respond to new information. “All learning involves the brain changing,” Hartshorne says, “and children’s brains seem to be a lot more adept at changing.”

Kids may also be more willing to try new things (and to potentially look foolish in the process) than adults are. Their comparatively new grasp on their native tongue may also be advantageous.
Unlike adults, who tend to default to the rules and patterns of their first language, kids may be able to approach a new one with a blank slate.

These findings may seem discouraging, but it was heartening for scientists to learn that the critical period for fluent language acquisition might be longer than they previously thought.

Some scientists believed that the brief window closes shortly after birth, while others stretched it only to early adolescence.

Compared to those estimates, 17 or 18 - when language learning ability starts to drop off - seems relatively old.

FOR THE STUDY, the researchers created an online quiz promising to guess people's native language, dialect and home country based on their responses to English grammar questions.

At the end of the quiz, people entered their actual native language, if and when they had learned any others and where they had lived.

The quiz went viral: almost 670,000 people took it, giving the researchers huge amounts of data from English speakers of many ages and backgrounds.

Analyzing the responses and grammar mistakes allowed them to draw unusually precise conclusions about language learning.

The findings also offer insights for adults hoping to pick up a new tongue.

People fared better when they learned by immersion, rather than simply in a classroom.

And moving to a place where your desired language is spoken is the best way to learn as an adult, says Hartshorne.

If that's not an option, you can mimic an immersive environment by finding ways to have conversations with native speakers in their own communities, Hartshorne says.

By doing so, it's possible to become conversationally proficient - even without the advantage of a child's brain.

Adapted from http://www.kekenet.com/Article/201905/586582.shtml

VOCABULARY

1. plummet v. (单独使用的动词) to fall suddenly and quickly from a high level or position 暴跌;速降 (同) plunge 例如:
Share prices plummeted to an all-time low. 股票价格暴跌到历史最低点。
Her spirits plummeted at the thought of meeting him again. 一想到又要见到他,她的心情便直往下沉。
The jet plummeted into a row of houses. 那架喷气式飞机一头栽进一排房子里。
2. adept adj. adept (at / in sth.) | adept (at / in doing sth.) good at doing sth. that is quite difficult 内行的;熟练的;擅长的

QUESTIONS

Listen to the news and choose the best answer to each question you hear.

(Q1) Kids may be better than adults at learning new languages for many reasons. Which of the following statements is TRUE?
(A) Children are not better able to adapt and respond to new information.  
(B) Kids are more willing to try new things.
(C) Kids are more intelligent than adults.
(D) Kids are more diligent than adults.

(Q2) What’s the best way to learn a language as an adult?
(A) Moving to a place where your desired language is spoken.
(B) In a language classroom.
(C) Finding ways to have conversations with native speakers.
(D) Listening to the news.

KEY 

(Q1) B。细节题。命题出处:Kids may be better than adults at learning new languages for many reasons. Children’s brains are more plastic than those of adults, meaning they’re better able to adapt and respond to new information. “All learning involves the brain changing,” Hartshorne says, “and children’s brains seem to be a lot more adept at changing.” Kids may also be more willing to try new things (and to potentially look foolish in the process) than adults are. Their comparatively new grasp on their native tongue may also be advantageous. Unlike adults, who tend to default to the rules and patterns of their first language, kids may be able to approach a new one with a blank slate.

(Q2) A。细节题。命题出处:And moving to a place where your desired language is spoken is the best way to learn as an adult, says Hartshorne. If that's not an option, you can mimic an immersive environment by finding ways to have conversations with native speakers in their own communities, Hartshorne says. By doing so, it's possible to become conversationally proficient - even without the advantage of a child's brain.

讨论区

还可以输入500 个字
  • 时长:3.5分钟
  • 语速:161wpm
  • 来源:刘立军 2019-07-10