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"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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Discussion Details

Title: Uneducated families = Noncomplex languages
Submitter: Franz Dotter
Description: Dear colleagues,

The saying that every generation has to invent the world anew seems to be
correct. The questions on the correlation of social factors and language
competences (= the ability to communicate differentiatedly about the world)
were already often opened and discussed. I just remind you of Bernstein and
sociolinguistics from the 1960s on. There is a huge bulk of literature
about, in different disciplines (psychology, pedagogy, linguistics).

Naturally, all context features to which a child is exposed in his/her
ontogenesis and socialization have to be seen as a bundle of very different
impact (not always towards the same direction). Many research models were
too reduced to overview them adequately. If we look e.g. at the children
kept in isolation or in badly organized homes, we can identify horrible
mechanisms which almost destroy the possibilities for a normal life already
in early childhood. We know how important the relationship of children to
their parents (in the beginning especially mothers) is, how important early
activities (including language) are, etc.

From all the findings we should say: It is not a natural law that poor
families have children with less life chances; the same is valid for
''non-educated'' ones (what does that really mean, compared with the many
different phenomena to be found in the world?), especially if they do very
well with their children in terms of acceptance, emotion, truth,
communication, etc. But we need not wonder that children from such families
have a higher chance to get less that others from families with a better
starting point, especially in certain areas like towns with slums or with
bad social security or services.

Best Regards

Franz Dotter (Klagenfurt University)

To read previous threads in this discussion, please visit:
Date Posted: 04-May-2009
Linguistic Field(s): Psycholinguistics
Language Acquisition
LL Issue: 20.1716
Posted: 04-May-2009

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