[MUD-Dev] DGN: Reasons for play [was: EmergentBehaviorsspawnedfrom...]

Sean Kelly sean at f4.ca
Thu Oct 13 09:19:11 New Zealand Daylight Time 2005

On Sat, 24 Sep 2005, Amanda Walker wrote:

> This is a completely non-scientific answer (I don't know of any
> studies of this specific question), but here's a data point:

> My father is a foreign language teacher (German, French, Russian,
> and can get by in Spanish and Portuguese).  I can recall being
> exposed to (and being taught to pronounce) non-English sounds,
> words, and grammar as far back as I can remember, though I didn't
> start language lessons until high school.

> I have a great ear--I can learn the phonetics and phonology of
> other languages almost effortlessly (though I have just as much
> trouble as most adults at learning new vocabulary and grammatical
> systems).  I don't have the "translate everything into an English
> equivalent" filter that many of my classmates seemed to have, and
> that took them a lot of effort to un-learn.

> This puts me in the odd position of being able to read aloud in
> several languages with very good pronunciation, without knowing
> what I'm saying :-).

> Of course, I can't generalize from one data point--I have no idea
> if there was actually any cause and effect, or if having a good
> ear just runs in the family (my father has the same facility).
> But it's food for thought...

Probably a little of both, though I would be curious to find out if
you can accurately pronounce phonemes that don't exist in your
native language.  I have a fairly good ear as well, but I've never
gone so far with a foreign language (Mandarin, for example) to know
whether I can distinguish tonal subtleties that don't exist in

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