Young children seem to be able to learn languages with a lot less difficulty than adults. But why is this? In this programme we take a short and simple look at a very complex topic and hear a number of expert opinions. We also cover some useful vocabulary for talking about this topic
Before you listen to the programme look at the comprehension questions below. You can hear the answers in the programme.
1: What is the Critial Period Hypothesis?
2: What does Professor White think of this theory?
3: Why does Dr. John Coleman think children learn languages better than adults?
4: What does Erik Thiessen believe causes problems for adult language learners?
You can download an mp3 version of the programme and a script at the bottom of this page.
Vocabulary from the programme
this verb is used when talking about learning languages
Children find it much easier to acquire languages than adults
First language acquisition
the learning of the mother tongue
Second language acquisition
the learning of another language after your mother tongue
a statement that something is true
cannot be told apart from, is exactly the same as
I think he cheated with his homework. His essay was indistinguishable from an article on the internet.
to be exposed to something
to be in a situation where you experience something which you did not plan
Young children are exposed to lot of new sights and sounds every day.
a disadvantage that makes something difficult to do
Being tall is a real handicap to being a jockey, it's a profession for short people!
Programme script (pdf - 21 k)
Download this programme (mp3 - 2 MB)
More about this topic from BBC Radio 4 Science
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