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Old August 25, 2008, 11:06 PM
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Idioma and lengua

Which one to choose?
Is one preferred over the other, or are they completely interchangeable?
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  #2  
Old August 25, 2008, 11:12 PM
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Originally Posted by ElDanés View Post
Which one to choose?
Is one preferred over the other, or are they completely interchangeable?
In my opinion, you can you either one to mean language. It's very similar to the English language and tongue. I would say idioma is the most 'normal' and generic way of saying language.
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Old August 26, 2008, 02:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Tomisimo View Post
In my opinion, you can you either one to mean language. It's very similar to the English language and tongue. I would say idioma is the most 'normal' and generic way of saying language.
I think David is right. Some examples:
- mother tongue : lengua materna
- How many languages do you speak? : ¿Cuántos idiomas hablas?
- Language acquisition: Aprendizaje de un idioma
- Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR): Marco Europeo de las Lenguas (although I guess my Spanish translation is what we use in boring meetings to abbreviate).
- Language economy: economía del lenguaje(a very interesting topic by the way)
- English as a Foreign Language (ELF)/ Español como lengua extranjera (ELE)
And something else I have just realized. In Spanish we use Lengua or Lenguaje (with a capital) to refer to the subject, which is more or less the equivalent to English in the UK. The main difference here being that in Spain there are usually two different subjects (Lengua y Literatura) and in the UK, English covers both areas.
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Old August 26, 2008, 05:59 AM
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Thanks both of you. I guess I shan't think to much about it.
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Old August 26, 2008, 10:07 AM
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Language acquisition: Aprendizaje de un idioma
This made me think back to my linguistics courses, and in linguistics, you differentiate between language acquisition and language learning. Acquisistion is when a child acquires language naturally without studying it, and learning is the explicit studying of a language. Do you use these two terms in Spanish too?
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Old August 26, 2008, 12:14 PM
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This made me think back to my linguistics courses, and in linguistics, you differentiate between language acquisition and language learning. Acquisistion is when a child acquires language naturally without studying it, and learning is the explicit studying of a language. Do you use these two terms in Spanish too?
You are totally right, the problem is I wasn't sure about the term used in Spanish, because I have also studied linguistics in English.
I guess acquisition is adquisición and language learning is aprendizaje.
But, as I'm feeling lazy, I'll let Rusty do the internet searching...(at myself... I'm not angry with anybody, Crotalito.)
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Old August 26, 2008, 01:42 PM
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So, what would lenguaje mean? and how do you differentiate the usage?

Quote:
- Language acquisition: Aprendizaje de un idioma
- Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR): Marco Europeo de las Lenguas (although I guess my Spanish translation is what we use in boring meetings to abbreviate).
- Language economy: economía del lenguaje(a very interesting topic by the way
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Old August 26, 2008, 02:30 PM
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María got me thinking, and searching, about the difference between acquisition and learning. I did not study linguistics in school, but love learning languages.

On the Internet, I found that acquisition is usually applied to the initial learning of a language by a child, and that language learning is usually applied to later language study. However, I also found that there are those who believe acquisition describes both the initial learning and the secondary learning.

Acquisition, they postulate, is the natural ability in both infants and adults to learn a language. They especially believe that the ability to grasp grammar is something innate. Children are intuitively able, they argue, to know that 'want cookie' fits the grammar structure, while 'I cookie' does not. Applying the same logic to secondary language acquistion later in life, they say that we all are naturally drawn to use the correct grammar structure.

I believe this means that we aren't satisfied with just mimicking what someone else is saying. We try to make sense of a structure (phrase). We want to know how the structure works. We want to try out what we've learned with other vocabulary, even before we hear how someone else would say it.

One idea that supports this belief, and something I found particularly interesting, is the fact that both a child and an adult can come up with grammar structures that aren't correct, based on grammar structures they've already acquired. For example, children can surprise us when they say 'goed' (instead of went). No adult would have said that. So, where did this 'grammar rule' come from? It came from the child's natural ability to recognize a grammar structure and apply it to something new. For example, a child may hear the verb 'snow/snowing/snowed' and deduce that 'go/going/goed' must also work. It seems logical. It fits the structure already heard. When the child is introduced to the illogical grammar rule that governs the irregular verb, he undauntingly tucks the rule away and tries it out on other verbs.

So, these folks describe acquisition as our innate ability to pick up a language and apply what we deduce to terra incognita. Language learning, they say, involves study. Whether it's our mother tongue or a foreign language, we learn it through language acquistion (innate ability) and language learning skills we've acquired along the way.
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Old August 26, 2008, 02:48 PM
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Jane, I think David's explantion in post 2 of this thread is the best.
Language= idioma
Tongue= lengua
But I'm not sure if it's a hard and fast rule. It certainly applies to all the examples I thought of before.
Apart from that, I have just remembered a Biblical reference:when the Holy Spirit visited the apostles 'divided tongues, as of fire' appeared to them and they 'began to speak with other tongues' .This doesn't fit the definitions above, but I guess it's because of the type of text and the fact that it is pretty old (archaic, would sound more elegant, I know).

BTW , the two quotations above come from an anniversary edition of an illustrated American Bible for children originally published in the 70s. The pictures and annotations were made by Sam Butcher ( a real life Reverend Camden). I'm telling you this, because I'm sure many of you on the other side of the pond are familiar with the Precious Moments pictures and other related paraphernalia.
Sosia, if you have a moment check out the Precious Moments illustrations and you'll see to what extent I can be pastelona. I do love them. No kidding.
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Old August 26, 2008, 03:08 PM
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Precious moments seems the be the kind of thing available in card stores and some people find that sort of thing endearing. As Shakespeare said, "to each his own" (on sencond thought maybe it wasn't Shakespeare).

The term pastelona confuses me though. Is is somehow related to cursilada?
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Last edited by poli; August 26, 2008 at 03:31 PM.
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