The Psychology of Foreign Language Study

The Psychology of Foreign Language Study

The Psychology of Foreign Language Study

The Psychology of Foreign Language Study

Excerpt

Few school subjects involve the interests of more individuals, are more written about, and with less agreement, than the subject of language study. Theories and methods for learning languages follow each other in almost endless succession, most of which claim some universal validity. Yet, in spite of the effort and discussion, teachers are divided into many camps, and even among members of a group, there is seldom an entire agreement.

The attempt here is to summarize the present knowledge concerning economical methods of language learning. This aim involves, first of all, a distinction between convictions based on general experience or on purely logical processes, and facts that have been established experimentally. Only experimental results offer a basis for assurance.

But in considering the experiments, a further limitation is necessary. In drawing conclusions from the evidence, there is room for subjective influences, and experiments cannot always be accepted at their face value. This is particularly so in the case of language experiments, which often are undertaken, not by disinterested parties, but by partisans of certain causes. The goal-idea may determine, if not the conclusions drawn, at least the particular results that reach the stage of publication. It has been necessary, therefore, to review these experiments in . . .

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