Becoming Fluent; How Cognitive Science Can Help Adults Learn a Foreign Language.

Author:Sutherland, Matt
Position:Brief article - Book review

Richard Roberts and Roger Kreuz; BECOMING FLUENT; The MIT Press (Nonfiction: Science) 24.95 ISBN: 9780262029230

Byline: Matt Sutherland

Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife's ability to speak Greek, especially if thou art older than twenty-five years. Okay, you're right, that one didn't make the Commandment cut, but a merciful God surely wouldn't want us chasing the impossible -- such is the apparent difficulty in learning a new language as an adult.

In Becoming Fluent: How Cognitive Science Can Help Adults Learn a Foreign Language, Richard Roberts and Roger Kreuz turn conventional wisdom on its head and identify dozens of advantages adults have over kids in language skills, beginning with the simple fact that adults have advanced knowledge, skills, and nonverbal communication mastery. The authors acknowledge that children do have a couple language-learning advantages -- an ability to acquire local accents, and they also don't bring adult-sized anxiety to their study sessions -- but Roberts and Kreuz...

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