If all children's shows were in Latin, would the kids be fluent in it?

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Re: If all children's shows were in Latin, would the kids be fluent in it?

Postby Serpent » Fri Aug 24, 2018 7:55 pm

The opposite is also fascinating. Imagine some enthusiasts speaking Latin to their kids but letting them watch cartoons in a modern Romance language (let's say Italian). Assuming the parents' level is really high, I think the kids could learn both languages pretty well. In school they would presumably function similarly to someone who speaks a non-local dialect at home?

As for the original scenario, at the very least, they would need to read in Latin starting from the age of 6-10. (well, this is probably needed in both scenarios)
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Re: If all children's shows were in Latin, would the kids be fluent in it?

Postby Hashimi » Fri Aug 24, 2018 11:16 pm

Serpent wrote:The opposite is also fascinating. Imagine some enthusiasts speaking Latin to their kids but letting them watch cartoons in a modern Romance language (let's say Italian). Assuming the parents' level is really high, I think the kids could learn both languages pretty well. In school they would presumably function similarly to someone who speaks a non-local dialect at home?

As for the original scenario, at the very least, they would need to read in Latin starting from the age of 6-10. (well, this is probably needed in both scenarios)


This professor spoke to his son only in Standard Arabic, and his the mother spoke to him in her local Syrian dialect:

https://www.reddit.com/r/learn_arabic/c ... _abdullah/

They were living in Kuwait, and now their son, Basil, speaks the three fluently, Standard Arabic, Syrian, and Kuwaiti dialects.
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Re: If all children's shows were in Latin, would the kids be fluent in it?

Postby smallwhite » Sat Aug 25, 2018 4:03 am

I think there is a study that says babies don't learn a second language if they only watch TV in it. It says there must be interaction for learning to happen.

Hashimi wrote:
... why don't these kids be at least bilingual in MSA and their local dialects?

When I think about topics like this, I try to give an imaginary news report in newsspeak in my L1, and look at why I can't do it properly even though I've been listening to the news in my L1 all my life. In my case, the main problem is I don't remember the jargon: defendant, prosecutor, raid, crime scene, etc, mostly nouns but also some verbs.

And Cantonese-speaking me cannot write Written Chinese properly although 9X% of what I read is in the latter as well as all the Chinese that I wrote during school years (answers to tests, essays). In this case, it's mostly the grammar that I just can't get right.
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Re: If all children's shows were in Latin, would the kids be fluent in it?

Postby Axon » Sat Aug 25, 2018 4:49 am

smallwhite wrote:... In my case, the main problem is I don't remember the jargon: defendant, prosecutor, raid, crime scene, etc, mostly nouns but also some verbs....


But you wrote them down here in one of your L2s just now? Is it that you understand the words when they appear on TV but, never having delivered a news report, can't come up with them on the fly and have to glance at some news to refresh your memory?

Can I do it?

my attempt at news wrote:The defendant was reportedseen witnessed fleeing the scene of the crime in a white Toyota Prius, whereafter then that same vehicle was seen at the corner of Eighth and B streets one hour later. He was apprehended by police near that intersection.


Interesting. The strikethroughs are the words that first came to mind before editing. And of course, though the newscasters are obviously very practiced at delivering the news, they need rehearsals and scripts and editing as well.

The linguist Yuen Ren Chao once shared an anecdote about a time that he and his wife were switching between different Chinese dialects for fun. All of a sudden she began speaking "perfect" Shanghai dialect, even though she'd always spoken Mandarin when growing up in Shanghai. Assuming the story is unembellished, it shows that at least some people can learn to speak a related language fluently after only receiving input.

Children of immigrants who grow up in a home where another language is spoken often have limited productive ability in that language, preferring to speak the language of their friends and the media they watch. Does anyone know if that's the case for, say, German immigrant children in Denmark, or Italian immigrant children in Spain?
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Re: If all children's shows were in Latin, would the kids be fluent in it?

Postby smallwhite » Sat Aug 25, 2018 5:24 am

Axon wrote:
But you wrote them down here in one of your L2s just now? Is it that you understand the words when they appear on TV but, never having delivered a news report, can't come up with them on the fly and have to glance at some news to refresh your memory?

Those were just words that came to mind. I cannot use them accurately (in my L1). Not even when given plenty of time though that would help. I would also hesitate about the presentation, eg. "a woman was found..." or "the police found...", do they usually say "yesterday morning" or "Friday morning"...

My Written Chinese looks fine to me and I believe to other HKers, but I do notice significant difference from proper Written Chinese. I once wrote a document for work, I wrote in my best Written Chinese, but my Taiwanese and mainlander colleagues made major corrections to it which I did feel was heaps better. So there's always this gap even after having used Written Chinese at school.
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Re: If all children's shows were in Latin, would the kids be fluent in it?

Postby nooj » Sat Aug 25, 2018 5:37 am

Hashimi wrote:
This professor spoke to his son only in Standard Arabic, and his the mother spoke to him in her local Syrian dialect:

https://www.reddit.com/r/learn_arabic/c ... _abdullah/

They were living in Kuwait, and now their son, Basil, speaks the three fluently, Standard Arabic, Syrian, and Kuwaiti dialects.

Pointless, to say the least. Standard Arabic has never, ever, ever been the native spoken language of any Arab in history, I don't see why anyone would want to change that. It goes against over two or three millenia of Arabic sociolinguistics.
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Re: If all children's shows were in Latin, would the kids be fluent in it?

Postby Hashimi » Sat Aug 25, 2018 6:04 am

nooj wrote:.... I don't see why anyone would want to change that.


For the same reasons Esperanto and Modern Hebrew were invented, i.e. to easily allow people to communicate in one language.
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Re: If all children's shows were in Latin, would the kids be fluent in it?

Postby Saim » Sat Aug 25, 2018 6:26 am

Hashimi wrote:For the same reasons Esperanto and Modern Hebrew were invented, i.e. to easily allow people to communicate in one language.


That's not why Modern Hebrew became a vernacular language (not "invented"); it was largely an issue of national identity. Had they just wanted to allow people to communicate they would've picked a language already widely spoken by the settlers, like Yiddish or Russian. Hebrew was also already shared among Jewish communities as a literary language, they didn't just "invent" it out of whole cloth.

Also, with which people? Why don't all Europeans speak English amongst themselves even if they share a mother tongue? This would "easily allow people to communicate".

You know that in Europe to create this "ease of communication" (the spread of nation-state languages) people often had their language quite literally beaten out of them, right? To go back to your Hebrew example, early Zionists had to actively prevent the public use of Yiddish.
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Re: If all children's shows were in Latin, would the kids be fluent in it?

Postby Cavesa » Sat Aug 25, 2018 10:51 am

Axon wrote:The linguist Yuen Ren Chao once shared an anecdote about a time that he and his wife were switching between different Chinese dialects for fun. All of a sudden she began speaking "perfect" Shanghai dialect, even though she'd always spoken Mandarin when growing up in Shanghai. Assuming the story is unembellished, it shows that at least some people can learn to speak a related language fluently after only receiving input.

Children of immigrants who grow up in a home where another language is spoken often have limited productive ability in that language, preferring to speak the language of their friends and the media they watch. Does anyone know if that's the case for, say, German immigrant children in Denmark, or Italian immigrant children in Spain?


I believe the linguist story could be true. Even though not everyone would be just as capable of doing this. But for example the Slovak immigrants in the Czech Republic learn only from input, I have never heard of a single one going to classes or paying a teacher. Sure, a large part of them sticks to Slovak (students for example), but a part of them slowly switches to Czech. And it happens in the other direction too, but I haven't met that many examples (which makes sense, as the migration in the opposite direction is much smaller).

The immigrant children with related languages: The Russian and Ukrainian native kids often show exactly this, when they start going to the Czech schools. Those, who get the Czech tv and similar practice outside of school too, those improve much faster than those that use Czech exclusively at school. When it comes to the second category, the kids sometimes need years to learn the language well enough, it is definitely not as easy as most people make it seem (I think a large part of the "languages are easy for children" myth is due the fact kids cannot speak for themselves loudly enough and clear it up), and it makes the teachers quite unhappy. Really, a child after two or three years of kindergarten and then in a normal school can still struggle considerably in the 2nd grade and that is a problem for the whole class.

So, I wouldn't underestimate the importance of tv and similar stuff in a language, in combination with other resources.

Also, there is an example of older learners: right after the fall of the Iron Curtain, people were horrible at foreign languages. And those who had illegally watched German tv (they had been living close enough to the borders and enjoyed it) had an advantage they were even able to use professionally. They were not fluent, but I think we are all a bit spoiled, when it comes to considering what is and is not useful. So, the kids watching shows in Latin, for example, could still profit from them. They could still get useful knowledge out of it.

It would be really different, if the Latin shows were shows to the Italian and the Czech kids defiitely. But I think both would be better prepared for Latin classes a few years later.
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Re: If all children's shows were in Latin, would the kids be fluent in it?

Postby jeff_lindqvist » Sat Aug 25, 2018 11:05 am

In this hypothetical case with Latin - is it an important language for the children(/parents/the government)? Do the children want to speak Latin? Do they have to? Will they also hear songs in Latin? Is it only input and nothing else?

(I can imagine circumstances where it would work, and where it wouldn't.)
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