Language learning research
The Taipei Times editorial on Friday gives the impression that my research says that children can acquire language “naturally,” but adults “make conscious efforts to study through a grammar-based curriculum” (“Decide what is achievable first,” Oct. 5, page 8).
My conclusion, after more than 40 years of research, is that adults are very good at natural language acquisition, just the opposite of what is suggested in the Times.
The evidence is overwhelming: The best way to acquire language is not by “study,” but by understanding messages.
Studies show that classes that provide interesting “comprehensible input” are far more effective and efficient than traditional classes. Such classes include stories and promote self-selected reading.
If these conclusions are correct, better English will not be achieved by starting earlier (Letters, Oct. 5, page 8) or by increasing the number of weekly classes (as suggested by the Times). It will be achieved by providing more interesting and comprehensible input: More listening to stories, more self-selected pleasure reading.
University of Southern California
US Vice President Mike Pence’s praise of Taiwan’s democracy is most welcome.
However, I find it hard to understand why, if Taiwan’s democracy is worthy of so much praise, the US and others don’t simply recognize the reality that the government in Taipei is the government of Taiwan and accord it full diplomatic recognition as such.
The government in Beijing is the government of China and is recognized as such.
Perhaps it would be easier for nations to recognize Taiwan if all Taiwan claims to be the legitimate government of the mainland were abandoned.
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