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LANGUAGE Whatever people do when they are together, whether they play or fight, make love or serve hamburgers or build houses, they talk. We're the only creatures on the planet with the power of speech. Every human being, rich or poor, is capable of language. Every child learns his or her native tongue, be it English or Zulu, just by being exposed to the talk around them. And they learn it equally well. Most children are fluent before they're ten years old, sometimes in more than one language. And as they grow up, they master different styles of speech. Everything from formal job interview talk to schoolyard slang. 'How can something as complicated as language be so easy for children to learn?' Many scientists think that certain areas of the brain specialize in language and that children are born with the capacity to learn any human language to which they are exposed. In other words, it's in our genes. And let's not confuse language with what's on the written page. Children don't come into the world with an ability to read and write. Writing is a human invention. Spoken language is a biological trait. It's like the difference between riding a bike and walking. One has to be learned, the other comes naturally. And what comes naturally in the human species is talk. There are thousands of languages on the planet all descended from earlier languages that spread and changed and split up into different dialects as people moved. Given enough time, separation of groups can even lead to new languages, the way French, Romanian and Spanish grew out of the Latin spoken by the Romans. In some ways computers are very smart. But can we teach a machine to speak and understand like a human? Not quite. With some flashy imitations of human-like skills, computers are limited in their ability to understand and produce meaningful speech. And they certainly lack spontaneity and the creativity of human language. Think about it. Except for a few set phrases, such as curses or things you recite from memory like a poem or prayer, every time you speak, the sentence is unlike any other sentence you have ever spoken. Each one is unique. And everyday you create hundreds or even thousands of them. One reason language is special is that it is a universal form of human creativity. All humans are creative when it comes to talking. There is no human trait more pervasive, or more valuable, than language. It is capable of expressing all of human thought.

Video Details

Duration: 3 minutes and 50 seconds
Country: Spain
Language: English
Producer: Manuel Pérez Gutiérrez
Director: Manuel Pérez Gutiérrez
Views: 115
Posted by: mapegu on Oct 14, 2008

LISTENING 1: Idioma extranjero (inglés) y su didáctica

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