23 votes
Accepted

According to scientific research, which languages take the least time to learn for a native English speaker?

According to the Foreign Service Institute (FSI), there are categorical rankings of difficulty in learning a language relative to English. A list can be found here with approximate time to become ...
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  • 1,841
12 votes

Is it possible for an adult to learn a language without carrying a foreign accent?

It is definitely possible. There are many language learners who have learned an L2 from birth or a very young age, and thus, have mastered the pronunciation in the language. Others have years of ...
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  • 8,937
9 votes

Is it possible for an adult to learn a language without carrying a foreign accent?

It is possible, but I am not aware of many adult learners who have achieved this (in spite of watching many YouTube videos about language learning). The example that always come to mind is Dashan or ...
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  • 19.2k
7 votes
Accepted

Is "difficulty" an inherent trait in language?

My linguistics professors at university told me that all languages are roughly equally difficult because children learn their native language at roughly the same speed across the world. Languages that ...
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  • 19.2k
7 votes

Is "difficulty" an inherent trait in language?

Firstly, it does seem that some languages might be inherently more difficult than other languages to learn in the classroom. This is because many languages have large amounts of irregulars, exceptions ...
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6 votes

Is "difficulty" an inherent trait in language?

Yes, there is such a thing as an inherent difficulty of a language. All languages are learnable by children, but it is clear that there are features that require more time to learn, and languages ...
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  • 2,244
6 votes

Does forcing students to speak English in school affect the students' knowledge of their native language?

Oh yes it can. (Source) For some people in America, learning English means they go through subtractive bilingualism, where they learn English at the same time they lose their native language(s): ...
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  • 5,198
5 votes
Accepted

Can passive speakers of a language gain native level fluency when learning it in their teens?

There is no reason to think that a Passive Bilingual/Speaker can't become a fluent speaker. In fact, they should have an easier time than someone who is learning the language from scratch. The main ...
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  • 4,996
5 votes
Accepted

How to comprehend what we read properly?

Failure to understand what you read may be caused either by reader factors or text factors or environmental factors. Often a combination of two or more factors is the reason for misunderstanding. ...
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  • 301
5 votes

Is it possible for an adult to learn a language without carrying a foreign accent?

It is possible. But very few people achieve native-like pronunciation. Example: There is a popular Russian TV host Vladimir Pozner. He grew up in US. His parents spoke French at home. When Vladimir ...
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  • 988
5 votes
Accepted

What are the steps to native language acquisition for children?

How Children Learn Language is a book that covers this topic. This is the book's summary: Demonstrating how children learn to produce and distinguish between sounds, and their acquisition of words ...
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  • 8,937
4 votes
Accepted

Do difficult native languages slow down early education?

It depends on what you consider 'mastering' the language to mean. Firstly, I would have to say that the 'difficulty' of every other language is relative to the language you already know, and perhaps,...
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4 votes

When does a native reach certain CEFR levels?

CEFR "is a guideline used to describe achievements of learners of foreign languages" (from Wikipedia). By definition it applies to L2 only. You can obviously estimate levels of native speakers but ...
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  • 441
4 votes

Is it possible for an adult to learn a language without carrying a foreign accent?

You can improve and get close, very refined, very mild, but getting an indistinguishable-from-native accent in adulthood is so rare as to be practically unheard of. And in my experience, there's a ...
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  • 41
4 votes

Is it possible for an adult to learn a language without carrying a foreign accent?

There are several studies that seem to indicate it is indeed possible for adult learners to reach a level of pronunciation that is perceptually indistinguishable from native speakers. One could cite ...
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  • 91
3 votes

Is it possible to learn a foreign language well enough to be indistinguishable from a native speaker?

As a native English speaker who lives in England, I have heard some teenagers from the Netherlands who have a neutral English accent that for about 15 minutes I thought were English, the problem is ...
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  • 131
3 votes

Does forcing students to speak English in school affect the students' knowledge of their native language?

There's an important ambiguity in the question that makes me somewhat unhappy with the accepted answer (so I'm providing an alternative here). Here's some clearer variations on the question: Will ...
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  • 492
3 votes
Accepted

Does forcing students to speak English in school affect the students' knowledge of their native language?

In the specific case of students being forced to speak English in school, I would say no, students will still retain their full vocabulary and knowledge of their native language (L1). For one, it's ...
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  • 8,937
3 votes
Accepted

What is my first and second language?

This is true. From Catija's answer and mainly her source in English Language Learners, we get a lot of information and thus, answers. She mentions first that one can have several first languages, or "...
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  • 5,198
3 votes

Is it more difficult for a native Chinese speaker to learn English, or vice versa?

I think it depends on what aspect of the language you're talking about. For reading and writing, English, being a primarily phonetic written language (albeit very irregular), seems to be easier to ...
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  • 181
2 votes

An article that has no problem, but sounds unnatural to the native speakers. Would non-native readers perceive it unnatural too?

This really varies by reader. What is unnatural to someone varies from person to person. I don't see it being unnatural (English being my native language). Some might see it strange, others might ...
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  • 5,198
2 votes

What qualities separate those few who acquire native speaker fluency, from those who are only fluent?

Since it is difficult to find literature about this, I'll focus on a "case study". One of the most famous foreigners in China is 大山/Dàshān/Mark Henry Rowswell, a Canadian whose fluency in Chinese is ...
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  • 19.2k
2 votes

Is it possible for an adult to learn a language without carrying a foreign accent?

Personally, I've never met someone who learned German as an adult (or even teenager) without accent. Some level of accent was always audible. Regarding TV or radio hosts: there have been many popular ...
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2 votes

Is it possible to learn a foreign language well enough to be indistinguishable from a native speaker?

It appears to be possible. One example is the Turkish-born American political commentator Cenk Uygur. He says something about how he started learning English at the age of eight in a YouTube video ...
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  • 19.2k
2 votes

How did Celine Dion learn to sing in perfect English?

In 1989, Céline Dion was sent to École Berlitz to work on her English. Also, she has written quite a few albums in English, that must definitely have improved her accent!
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  • 181
1 vote

Is there evidence that languages with complex grammar take longer to learn as a mother tongue?

The article Bleses, D., Vach, W., Slott, M., Wehberg, S., Thomsen, P., Madsen, T. O., & Basbøll, H. (2008). Early vocabulary development in Danish and other languages: A CDI-based comparison. ...
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  • 3,311
1 vote

Is it possible for an adult to learn a language without carrying a foreign accent?

I'm a Chinese speaker who speaks English at C2 level and it doesn't matter how much accent reduction training I do, my Chinese accent still lingers in my English. (It gets worse when I'm angry or have ...
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  • 29
1 vote

Is it possible for an adult to learn a language without carrying a foreign accent?

It is necessary to point an important misconception about learning the correct accent/prononciation in a foreign language: it is not about passing for a native speaker, but about being understood by ...
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1 vote

Is it possible to learn a foreign language well enough to be indistinguishable from a native speaker?

This is a question that can only be answered anecdotally, unless a study has been published somewhere. In any case, yes it is possible. I have spent time in Sweden, Austria and Germany and usually ...
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1 vote

What is my first and second language?

Strictly speaking, there can be only one "first language". Even in the case of simultaneous bilingualism, i.e. the acquisition of two languages from birth, there is typically a dominant language and a ...
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  • 19.2k

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