MEITS Blog


Want to learn four languages in a year?

by Henriette Hendriks

One of my friends forwarded me an article from a Dutch newspaper that introduces its readership to the idea of “ultra-learning”, a concept introduced by the Canadian Scott H Young (cf. Young, 2019). The article explains how Young managed to pass a 4-year MIT undergraduate course in more or less one year, and how he then set himself the challenge to learn four languages to B2 level (B2 is one of the proficiency levels proposed by the Common European Framework of Reference for languages, a level described as corresponding to a “confident” speaker).  

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What, if anything, makes learning English different from learning other languages?

by Henriette Hendriks

We Skyped the son of a friend of ours last week. He’s from the Netherlands and needed to interview a British citizen for his English homework. He sent an email,  in English, inviting my British partner to participate and then proceeded to conduct the interview in fluent and almost flawless English.

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Where is that native speaker?

by Henriette Hendriks

Have you ever learnt a modern foreign language? Many of us have attempted it at least once in our lives. Perhaps it was in school, or perhaps you fell in love. However, an encounter with a new language arises, starting to learn always seems easy. But how do you know when you have finished, or reached the target? At what point can you say you have acquired the language? Is it, perhaps, when you know all the rules in the grammar book? Or when you stop speaking with a foreign accent? The questions surrounding how much language is sufficient to have acquired it are ones that have been testing learner, teacher and researcher alike.

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