Archives For languages

enfant et scolaritéSmall children learn languages more easily and more quickly than adults do. Starting to learn a foreign language when you are over the age of 18 is infinitely more difficult than if you start as a young child or better yet, a baby. Why is this?

Babies start to pick up on sounds of a language while in the womb. They listen to the “song” of the language(s) being spoken around them, the rhythm, stress, and intonation of speech, which linguists call prosody. If you hum a sentence in English the sound of that is the prosody. If someone then hums a sentence in Spanish, Russian or Chinese the prosody of each language will sound different. Of course, babies that are exposed to more than one language while in utero, and thus more than one prosody, have a head start on being bilingual or even trilingual later in life. Continue Reading…

Is English the easiest language to learn?
Hello Sphere Word Tiles Global Languages CulturesThe question of which language is the most difficult to learn and which is the easiest to master is a much debated one.

In a language study done by the British Foreign Office the most difficult language to learn was found to be Basque, spoken in the Basque Country in Northern Spain and Southern France. One of the reasons is that Basque is an “isolated” language and does not share Latin roots with other languages in the way that Spanish, French and Italian do. Thus, vocabulary can be difficult to learn.  In addition, the grammar, syntax and pronunciation are very complex. Other languages, with an enormous amount of characters, such as Chinese, Japanese and Vietnamese, are also very difficult to learn by speakers and writers of the Roman alphabet. And many say that, in Chinese, once you have managed to master the long lists of complicated characters, an even more difficult task is the pronunciation.

What about English? Isn´t it one of the easiest languages to learn?

For the speakers of Romance languages (Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese and Romanian) when you start learning English you are not starting from scratch. Just by using the same alphabet you are already off to good start. Continue Reading…