Becoming Fluent

Becoming Fluent

How Cognitive Science Can Help Adults Learn A Foreign Language

Paperback - 2016
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How adult learners can draw upon skills and knowledge honed over a lifetime to master a foreign language.

Adults who want to learn a foreign language are often discouraged because they believe they cannot acquire a language as easily as children. Once they begin to learn a language, adults may be further discouraged when they find the methods used to teach children don't seem to work for them. What is an adult language learner to do? In this book, Richard Roberts and Roger Kreuz draw on insights from psychology and cognitive science to show that adults can master a foreign language if they bring to bear the skills and knowledge they have honed over a lifetime. Adults shouldn't try to learn as children do; they should learn like adults.

Roberts and Kreuz report evidence that adults can learn new languages even more easily than children. Children appear to have only two advantages over adults in learning a language: they acquire a native accent more easily, and they do not suffer from self-defeating anxiety about learning a language. Adults, on the other hand, have the greater advantages--gained from experience--of an understanding of their own mental processes and knowing how to use language to do things. Adults have an especially advantageous grasp of pragmatics, the social use of language, and Roberts and Kreuz show how to leverage this metalinguistic ability in learning a new language.

Learning a language takes effort. But if adult learners apply the tools acquired over a lifetime, it can be enjoyable and rewarding.

Publisher: Cambridge, Massachusetts : The MIT Press, 2016.
ISBN: 9780262529808
Branch Call Number: 612.8233
Characteristics: xviii, 226 pages : illustrations ; 21 cm
Additional Contributors: Kreuz, Roger J. - Author


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Aug 01, 2019

This book is less focused on the practical aspects of language learning and delves more into the process of learning in general and also how it applies to language. If you're interested in educational theory and the processes in which your brain commits facts to memory, etc...this is a great detour from your studies. However, if you are just starting to learn a new language, I would say skip this book and focus on the language at hand. It's not a 'get rich quick' kind of book. Essentially, there are just a handful of practical tips, but it is more about learning of the strengths and weakness of an aging brain and its abilities. Personally, I would recommend this book. It's interesting and there are some great takeaways, and it certainly a good motivator if you feel like you've plateaued in your studying.


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