Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now!

I know of a lass who teaches English as a Second Language and doesn't believe in "fossilization," which, far from meaning she doesn't believe in dinosaurs, signifies that she doesn't subscribe to the idea that second-language learners can hit a "learning wall" which prevents them from ever attaining native-level fluency.

My grandfather on my mother's side (born on Long Island, NY) took his wife down to Peru in the fifties, had all four of his kids down there, moved back to the States for a time, and has lived in Santiago, Chile, for some decades now. My grandfather on my father's side (born in Arkansas) went to Brazil during WWII as a civil contractor to build airbases for sub-hunters. He lived in Brazil for the rest of his life.

Their facility in day-to-day communication in, respectively, Spanish and Portuguese, was complete. But, to use a phrase I like to use to describe my Spanish, they wouldn't have been able to write a paper on Marxist dialectic to save their lives (just as well!). And their accents were atrocious. I mean, ugly, both of them. Their language acquisition had fossilized, even though they'd been using these second languages for decades on end.

Of course, maybe they hit some imaginary block they put up themselves, and this young lady is right...maybe people's brains don't start freezing up as they get older. Maybe they, and all people who plateau when learning languages, simply need to be cheered and convinced that rah, rah, rah! They can do it!

One of the things I have found as I live my li'l ol' life is that problems can really only be solved if you see that they're there. Does this young woman actually thinks that she can shape reality by the way she thinks?

It goes back, I say, to that snot Rousseau. His silly weed seed turns up everywhere, and here we are trying to hoe our row, and make a nifty little garden. I think I'd like to tweak his nose.

P.S. The soundtrack to this post is and we can build this thing together/ stand in stone forever/ nothing's gonna stop us now!