Monday, August 04, 2008

bisabab al-Harb wa al-burtuqaal fi Redlands

I feel like throwing a party.

I just opened up my Arabic kids' fairytale book that Aura-lee gave me last year, and I could actually generally make out what was happening in the first sentence.

The funny part is noting the associations that I have with particular words (e.g., I can remember where I learned them and what was happening). I guess this doesn't happen so much with the language that you learn as a kid . . . maybe because it all gets mushed together in your brain with the zillion and one other things you are already learning?

It would be super fun to study language acquisition. Someday . . .


Daniel Jackson said...

Hm. It seems to me that I had similar associative-linguistic experiences when I was learning to read, especially with "big words."
It's one of those things I've never thought to ask my younger siblings (or anyone else, for that matter.) I sort of assumed that everyone learned to read as I did. ^_^

I wonder, does it make a difference if you're learning by deduction (grammar and vocab -> speech) rather than induction through applied phrases? My Spanish was mostly phrase-based self-study, and I actually have less recollection of learning individual words than from taking Latin in University courses.

mle said...

Yeah, I think that words learned by deduction stick better. My Arabic textbook forces us to use a lot of deduction, and I've noticed a difference between things I learn that way and things I learn by rote memorization.

The words that I remember best, though, are words used in conversation, which I guess uses deductive brain muscles (you can call them that, right?) by default? Isn't learning your native language almost all an exercise in deduction?

Daniel Jackson said...

I'd have thought that learning from your parents & siblings would be more inductive than deductive; i.e. observing patterns in the language of your family, and making up your own rules as you go about emulating that. I know I had a lot of re-learning to do when mum realized that just letting me read whatever I wanted wasn't always the best way to teach me good grammar...
I'm 100% positive, though, that the children further along the birth order learn more by induction than the older siblings did. (There's only so much you can pick up and emulate from mum and dad, but you can and will say pretty much everything your big brother or sister says.)

Of course, with homeschooling... YMMV.