Re: Background

Subject: Re: Background
From: Karen Kay <karenk -at- NETCOM -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 3 Nov 1994 12:37:53 -0800

Elaine Winters said:
> On Thu, 3 Nov 1994, Rose Wilcox wrote:
> > A person with a strong ability
> > to learn foreign languages is obviously quite intelligent.

> Not necessarily; they may just be left-brained - -
> they're probably somewhat good at math - - and
> maybe not so graphically or spacially oriented.

I think I've got the attributions straight here. Whoever said that a
person with a strong ability to learn foreign languages is obviously
quite intelligent is dead wrong. If it were true, Europeans would by
definition be smarter than Americans. And a further corollary would be
that people who can't learn foreign languages are unintelligent.

Neither of these are true. The ability to learn foreign languages is
affected more by exposure before puberty than by native intelligence.
As for learning foreign languages, well, some people just can't. Their
brains don't work right for that. But that doesn't mean they are

Frankly, as a linguist and language teacher turned technical writer,
such sentiments horrify me. I had to have proficiency in five
languages for my Ph.D. program, but I think if I'd been intelligent, I
would have just chosen a different Ph.D. program.....

karenk -at- netcom -dot- com

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