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  1. Newbie
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    #1

    Do kids in UK / US hear and speak fluently even before they learn the alphabet?

    Do kids in UK / US hear and speak english pretty fluently even before they learn the alphabet, reading and writing? I don't really remember how i did learning my native language, because it was too long ago. And; I'm not a parent, so i don't know what kids do. I ask this question because I want to know how kids learn english, and somehow imitate the way they do. They just speak so easily, almost with no conscious effort.

  2. VIP Member
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    #2

    Re: Do kids in UK / US hear and speak fluently even before they learn the alphabet?

    Children learn to speak long before they learn the alphabet or how to read and write. Indeed, until comparatively modern times, most people never learnt how to read and write.
    Last edited by emsr2d2; 01-May-2017 at 12:45. Reason: Fixed typo

  3. jutfrank's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Do kids in UK / US hear and speak fluently even before they learn the alphabet?

    Many children can utter meaningful sentences around the age of two years. Some well before that. Reading and writing come much later, typically at five or six in the UK.

    Children learn to speak in their own time, but to read and write they need somebody to help them.

  4. VIP Member
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    #4

    Re: Do kids in UK / US hear and speak fluently even before they learn the alphabet?

    Tarzan was an exception - he taught himself to read and write, but was unable to speak as a child.

    I was so heartbroken when I learnt that Tarzan was not a real person that I divorced my wife for telling me.
    Last edited by emsr2d2; 01-May-2017 at 12:46.

  5. jutfrank's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Do kids in UK / US hear and speak fluently even before they learn the alphabet?

    I didn't know Tarzan could read and write. I'm now puzzling over how it's possible to be able to read but not speak. Would he not hear his own voice as he read?

    Also, where does one find a pen and paper in the jungle?

  6. Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    #6

    Re: Do kids in UK / US hear and speak fluently even before they learn the alphabet?

    His parents had left books behind, which he was able to decipher. If I remember the books correctly, he could write, but he couldn't speak. His parents were carrying books to teach him to read, so he worked out the links between the pictures and written words. Mind you, that was one of the less convincing aspects of the books.

  7. Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    #7

    Re: Do kids in UK / US hear and speak fluently even before they learn the alphabet?

    Quote Originally Posted by fruitninja View Post
    Do kids in UK / US hear and speak english pretty fluently even before they learn the alphabet, reading and writing?
    Yes, in almost all cases. It would be very unusual for a child to learn the alphabet before they could listen and speak.

  8. VIP Member
    Interested in Language
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    #8

    Re: Do kids in UK / US hear and speak fluently even before they learn the alphabet?

    Quote Originally Posted by fruitninja View Post
    Do kids in UK / US hear and speak english pretty fluently even before they learn the alphabet, reading and writing? I don't really remember how i did learning my native language, because it was too long ago. And; I'm not a parent, so i don't know what kids do. I ask this question because I want to know how kids learn english, and somehow imitate the way they do. They just speak so easily, almost with no conscious effort.
    Anglophones may marvel at the ease with which Vietnamese children master their language (which is extremely difficult for adult Anglophones to learn). The difference between the way toddlers and older people learn a language is that the toddlers are simultaneously learning language and a language. They don't have a frame of reference for the complexities of the particular language they're learning; it's just the way the big people around them communicate.
    I am not a teacher.

  9. jutfrank's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: Do kids in UK / US hear and speak fluently even before they learn the alphabet?

    fruitninja - in case you didn't know, there's a whole field of research dedicated to this subject. It's called language acquisition.

  10. Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    #10

    Re: Do kids in UK / US hear and speak fluently even before they learn the alphabet?

    Quote Originally Posted by GoesStation View Post
    Anglophones may marvel at the ease with which Vietnamese children master their language (which is extremely difficult for adult Anglophones to learn).
    Children successfully learn their first languages everywhere. The fact that middle aged English speakers struggle with a language like Vietnamese is a separate issue. Children are hard-wired to acquire language. I'm next door to Vietnam and am studying beginner Lao- my progress is slow.

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