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Jost Gippert: Our Featured Linguist!

"Buenos dias", "buenas noches" -- this was the first words in a foreign language I heard in my life, as a three-year old boy growing up in developing post-war Western Germany, where the first gastarbeiters had arrived from Spain. Fascinated by the strange sounds, I tried to get to know some more languages, the only opportunity being TV courses of English and French -- there was no foreign language education for pre-teen school children in Germany yet in those days. Read more

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Ask-A-Linguist Message Details

Subject: Learning to read
Question: Hello,

Can an individual, child or adult, learn to read before he/she can

Thank you.

Reply: Another unusual circumstance where reading is possible without speaking is where a child is unable to speak because of a serious physical defect in the oral tract. One common reason for this is that when young children have to have tracheostomies they cannot speak.

Such children are learning oral language without speech, and if they reach the age of 5 or so, they will be able to learn to read and write despite not being able to speak. By then they could be quite frustrated at being unable to communicate, however, so it is better to teach them a sign language for self-expression. They learn oral language quickly once the tracheostomy is removed, or when they are old enough to learn to speak with a tracheostomy.


Reply From: Anthea Fraser Gupta      click here to access email
Date: 27-Oct-2012
Other Replies:
  1. Re: Learning to read    Madalena Cruz-Ferreira     (22-Oct-2012)
  2. Re: Learning to read    Elizabeth J Pyatt     (22-Oct-2012)
  3. Re: Learning to read    Nancy J. Frishberg     (22-Oct-2012)

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