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On 3/18/06, Risto Kupsala <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Paul Bartlett wrote:
> >On Thu, 16 Mar 2006, Jens Wilkinson wrote:
> >>                       I'll definitely agree, though,
> >> that if a language starts to be used by people
> >> throughout the world as a primary language ("world
> >> language" rather than IAL) my argument would be
> >> totally different, [...]
> >
> >     As Mario Pei pointed out nearly half a century ago (1958) in his
> > book "One Language for the World," if a true world language is adopted,
> > it will be taught to children, in which case all the phonological
> > falderol pretty much disappears, as young children can learn most any
> > phonology.
>
> He was wrong. People who have learned English in childhood still do not
> pronounce it perfectly despite of listening English audio tapes in
> classroom and watching English programs from TV on freetime. It doesn't
> come naturally for children. They have to pay special attention to correct
> pronunciation and practice it for hours and hours. That way also adults
> can learn to pronounce almost anything if they bother to do it.
>
> -- Risto

If by perfectly you mean indistinguishably from a native speaker,
that's probably true. Quebecois children who get significant formal
training in English in the classroom, and who also watch English TV
programs, nevertheless have a slight accent. But it's very slight,
well within the normal variation of "native" English accents (I mean,
it's far easier for me to understand them than for me to understand
Cockney or Mumbai English). Their accent isn't wrong or substandard,
it's just a slight variation from my accent.

(Of course, the Quebecois kids who only get 45 minutes a day in the
classroom but have no other exposure to English can, by the time they
graduate high school, order a meal in a restaurant in English. The
same as English-speaking kids who get 45 minutes a day of French. Just
two of the many languages that cannot be learned in 45-minute-per-day
chunks spread over 12 years.)

---larry