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@LearningFrenchNow: Linguistics is indeed a scientific study that has found application in neighboring fields, such as sociology, psychology, logic, computer science, and anthropology. I feel that you are being disrespectful in this regard. According to this article (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/19/business/economy/19grads.html), college graduates with a variety of majors are finding it difficult to secure jobs in their fields of study. This is attributed to the sour economy and not to the lack of importance of the science. To me, linguistics (and the subfield of second language acquisition) has been very useful in helping us understand how and why we say things the way we do. Specific terms, or jargon, like interlanguage, fossilization, or even register are vital to helping theorists and researchers better communicate and express information. However, Steve is absolutely right in this respect: These terms are just about useless to anyone outside of these fields of study. Jargon, by definition, is meaningless outside of its original context. @Steve: I appreciate what you are trying to say here. But is criticizing the words scientists use really the rout you want to take? You’re personal “field of study,” how to learn another language, has little to do with linguistics. You seem like the guy on the cooking show explaining that the amateur chef doesn’t need to know the chemical formula for table salt. Of course a good cook doesn’t need that information, but it is beyond reason to say that a chemist doesn’t either. Steve isn’t just a guy that knows a lot of languages. He has found success in learning languages without using the “conventional methods” that often don’t work for others. He is right in saying that motivation is a key factor in successful language learning. But even Steve cannot reasonably say that he knows exactly how he learned those languages. The way the human brain learns is a topic of hot debate by psychologists, neurologists, philosophers, and (yes) linguists. This debate will likely continue for some time, each paradigm being overthrown by another and so on, until we one day discover how it is we can learn and know anything. In the end, anyone trying to learn another language and failing does well to look both at Steve’s methods and experience—which I have considered to be invaluable—and what experts in linguistics say. Criticism that is not constructive, focused, and purposeful can just be seen as complaining. That's what I feel is happening here. In fact, I view bitter (or almost hateful) criticism to be a form of violence. Only with peaceful reason and energetic debate can we ever achieve anything.
Commented Jan 3, 2012 on
Fossilization and interlanguage
The Linguist On Language - Having Fun Learning Languages
Fossilization and interlanguage
Fossilization and interlanguage are examples of language teaching jargon. These kinds of technical terms that are associated with language teaching often strike me as unnecessary, and not helpful to language learners. I know that learners are not aware of these terms. However they are often used...
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