Thursday, 30 March 2017

196

The other day, something happened that illustrates the difference between language acquisition and language learning. 

I was listening to HP1 in Thai, and heard the word ‘kao’ a few times. It seemed to mean child or baby. And then I heard a Syrian mother call her child. It sounded like ‘Sophie ka’.

I checked later with Thai and Arabic-speaking colleagues. “No, you’re wrong,” they laughed. The first means ‘he’ and the second isn’t pronounced quite like that.


So one is either right or wrong, the conventional way. No credit for partial understanding, even though we learn in increments. Sadly fascinating.

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