Language Learning


Number of foreign students at public schools who lack Japanese language skills hits record high

The Japan Times

By prefecture, Aichi tops the list with 7,277 non-Japanese children with poor Japanese skills, followed by Kanagawa at 3,947, Tokyo at 2,932, Shizuoka at 2,673 and Osaka at 2,275. The survey also found 9,612 children who hold Japanese citizenship but have poor Japanese skills, needing remedial language instruction. Such children often have no choice but to learn basic Japanese at language schools or in classes provided by nonprofit groups like the center before entering a public school, Hazeki said. "There are a lot of language schools in Japan for international students, but Japan does not have a well-established system to train people who can teach Japanese to those elementary and junior high school children," Hazeki said.


What's universal grammar? Evidence rebuts Chomsky's theory of language learning

#artificialintelligence

Recently, though, cognitive scientists and linguists have abandoned Chomsky's "universal grammar" theory in droves because of new research examining many different languages -- and the way young children learn to understand and speak the tongues of their communities. The new version of the theory, called principles and parameters, replaced a single universal grammar for all the world's languages with a set of "universal" principles governing the structure of language. They interacted with culture (whether a child was learning Japanese or English) to produce today's variation in languages as well as defined the set of human languages that were possible. Chomsky tried to define the components of the essential tool kit of language -- the kinds of mental machinery that allow hu man language to happen.