SOCIAL SCIENCES

Becoming Fluent: How Cognitive Science Can Help Adults Learn a Foreign Language

Roberts, Richard & . MIT. 2015. 248p. illus. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780262029230. $24.95. PSYCH
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One of the misconceptions about learning a second language as an adult is that one cannot acquire it as easily as can a child. In this book, coauthors Roberts (Foreign Service Officer, U.S. Dept. of State) and Kreuz (psychology & associate dean, Univ. of Memphis) aim to demonstrate that the cognitive skills adults possess help them learn a foreign language more easily than children. Yes, children will acquire a native accent when learning a second language and yes, their better working memory helps them memorize faster. But adults, being more experienced, can use their knowledge of communication, of the new culture, and even their own language to perfect their learning.
VERDICT The authors bring forth concepts, research, and theories in cognitive science to explain how adults learn, making this book that is packed full of useful scientific information applicable to other learning situations. While not standard reading for the average second language student, this will be of interest to those studying cognitive science, education, and linguistics and to the sophisticated foreign language learner.

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