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Arek Bellagio wrote:

> At 22:04 16/10/1998 +0200, you wrote:
> >I tend to believe that some natlangs are easier to learn as foreign
> >languages for adult persons.
> >
> >Does anyone agree on this?
>
> Oh, of course do I ever agree! Some languages (Spanish being one of the more
> simple of languages) are easy to learn whereas some of the more difficult
> (more complicated?) languages (Russian and English being the higher of that
> level) take longer to learn. The fact that some languages are more difficult
> to learn has been proven: There is a college in the Monterrey Bay area (I
> forget it's name, but it's a military school that deals primarily on
> teaching languages) has you take a language aptitude test, and puts you in
> the best area for learning languages. Spanish was one of the most simple,
> whereas English, Chinese, and some Slovak languages were on a harder scale.

I learned Czech at that school in 1961-62.  At that time, it was called Army
Language School.  Now it is called Defense Language Institute.  When I attended,
courses for languages closely related to English  (such as French, Spanish and
German) were 6 months, courses for languages distantly related to English (such
as Russian and Czech) were 13 months, and courses for languages unrelated to
English were 18 months (if they used an alphabet or syllabary) or longer (if a
complex graphic system had to be learned).

The difference in the time it took to learn a language had nothing to do with
anything but how similar it was to English -- because the learners were native
English-speakers!

-- Tommie