walkitout (walkitout) wrote,

I have my suspicions about people like this

Continuing to read _Second Language Learning Theories_ by Mitchell, Myles and Marsden (oooh, 3M!). Story about "psycholinguist Martin Braine" trying to improve his daughter's grammar, quoted in some book by Pinker (oh, wow, I don't know why I failed to notice that the first time through). Kid persists in saying "Want other one spoon" when Dad thinks she should say, "want the other spoon". Of course, as Good Parents, we recognize that when your daughter says "want other one spoon", you are absolutely going to once again Thank The Great Goddess Above, Below And Within Us All because our child has successfully communicated a desire that we can actually fulfill and then go on with our morning. Braine, however, is an ass, and attempts to make her say it "the right way". Kid wasn't born yesterday (presumably more than a year ago, possibly more), and complies with Dad's detailed demands to repeat individual words and then immediately returns to "give me other one spoon". Because even a toddler knows better than to pay any attention to Dad when he's on another one of his kicks.

This, however, is NOT THE MORAL DRAWN! Shocking, I know! It's like some people fail to learn the correct lessons from parenting, and instead conclude a bunch of unjustified nonsense about "children do not seem susceptible to adult correction". Really? Really?!? Not when you do it the way Braine did it, no they aren't susceptible. Years ago (decades, when I'm honest) Uncle Cecil (shared pseudonym) did this great analysis of whether cats or dogs are smarter by reviewing the scientific research on the ability of cats and dogs to learn things the scientists were attempting to teach them. Never mind that, it turned out the cats were way better at teaching other cats what they had learned (ditto with the dogs -- it's a general truth, actually) than the scientists were at initially training the cats. When I've discussed this with a friend who has the ability to get animals to do all kinds of things you wouldn't think an animal could do (or would do upon polite request), I learned that he, too, had seen some of this research and agreed that the scientists in question were Not Good At Their Task.


Anyway. This is from chapter two, an overview of past ideas about how all this stuff worked so one really hopes that people have gotten a bit more clever altho I am not optimistic because people still quote Piaget as if he was onto anything at all, really, I know, it is hard to believe.
Tags: language learning
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