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It's Been Said Before

By Orin Hargraves

It's Been Said Before "examines why certain phrases become clichés and why they should be avoided -- or why they still have life left in them."

New from Cambridge University Press!


Sounds Fascinating

By J. C. Wells

How do you pronounce biopic, synod, and Breughel? - and why? Do our cake and archaic sound the same? Where does the stress go in stalagmite? What's odd about the word epergne? As a finale, the author writes a letter to his 16-year-old self.

Academic Paper

Title: The puzzle of language learning: From child's play to ‘linguaphobia’
Author: Alison Wray
Institution: Cardiff University
Linguistic Field: Applied Linguistics; Language Acquisition
Abstract: A new education policy for England, announced in Spring 2007, aims to introduce the learning of a foreign language to all children from the age of 8 by the year 2010. But there was a similar initiative in the 1960s and it didn't work then, so why should it now? This presentation explores the reasons underlying the belief that children can ‘naturally’ learn another language if they begin young enough, and considers reasons why classroom learning may not always tap into whatever natural language learning skills children have. Drawing on a range of previously published research and my own recent empirical studies, I suggest that, unless we are careful, our primary-age children will be flung into an adult-style learning approach, which they are too immature to handle. How, then, can young children's learning potential be exploited most effectively? The role of multiword sequences as a form of lexis is considered, making reference to my model of formulaic language processing e.g. Wray 2002. Consideration is given to how memorising useful wordstrings may assist children in developing a view of language knowledge that promotes effective learning.


This article appears IN Language Teaching Vol. 41, Issue 2.

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