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Data on learning difficulty among languages would be very valuable to our efforts here, but I think we all see that testing would have to be carefully devised.

So many variables.

We can perhaps feel certain that learning Esperanto would be easier for most -- compared to leaning Mandarin or Navaho. But evidence is scant.

SOME OTHER COMMENTS:

1.       I don’t think Sambahsa can be described as a “regional language.”

2.       The African languages that Afrihili was devised from are very different from each other. I doubt it would be any easier for the average African than, say, Afrikaans or Indonesian. I see no evidence that anyone ever learned Afrihili.

Regards,                      LEO

 

 

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From: International Auxiliary Languages [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Jeffrey Brown
Sent: Friday, January 13, 2017 1:53 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: SLA Speed Tests

 

There has been some research, but not a lot, and nothing as exhaustive as you describe.

First of all, are you talking about adult learners, or children? Makes a big difference.

Second, what is the context in which the L2 is learned? In an academic setting, full immersion as for immigrants, self-study, occasional language lessons? Another big difference.

One has to be careful not to compare apples to oranges The research that has been done uses small numbers, and different age learners, and different settings. It's not really possible to do any sort of meta-analysis because of that.

As Paul stated, what appears to be the primary factor in determining learning speed, is the foreignness of the vocabulary. Learning an L2 in you L1's family? Easy. Different family? Harder. No cognates whatsoever? Hardest.

Phonology and grammar have less of an effect. Since it is not possible for any auxlang to have a vocabulary where most of the words are cognate to most of the spoken languages of the world, an auxlang doesn't seem to have as big an advantage as advocates hope. If it is a *regional* auxlang, like Sambahsa or Afrihili, then it should be relatively easy to learn by those whose L1 belongs to the same linguistic family as that from which the vocabulary is drawn.  Jeffrey

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On Wed, Jan 11, 2017 at 11:48 PM, Robert South <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

Has there been scientific research done on comparative second language acquisition?
I mean, has anybody ever taken, for example, a group of native Spanish speakers who don't know Russian and a group of native English   speakers who doesn't know Mandarin, and tested how long it takes, on average, to learn each language starting from each other first language?  Even just getting a table of A to B times between major languages and with small sample sizes, this would require many hundreds of test participants and you would have to have standardized ways of testing proficiency.   Just designing the experiment would be hard.
But if you could do a thing like that it could provide a powerful argument for an auxlang, if you could prove scientifically and quantifiably how much more learnable a given language might be compared to other languages.”

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Data on learning difficulty among languages would be very valuable to our efforts here, but I think we all see that testing would have to be carefully devised.

So many variables.

We can perhaps feel certain that learning Esperanto would be easier for most -- compared to leaning Mandarin or Navaho. But evidence is scant.

SOME OTHER COMMENTS:

1.  I don’t think Sambahsa can be described as a “regional language.”

2.  The African languages that Afrihili was devised from are very different from each other. I doubt it would be any easier for the average African than, say, Afrikaans or Indonesian. I see no evidence that anyone ever learned Afrihili.

Regards,                      LEO