Perfect Accents Not Realistic for Older Language Learners, Linguists Say

By Lesli A. Maxwell on April 4, 2012 11:00 AM
I am an adult language learner. After several years of lying fallow, I have taken up my pursuit of learning Spanish with a great teacher who comes to my office twice a week for one-on-one lessons.
In nearly every class, Francisca and I have lengthy conversations in Spanish about our lives, as well as subject matter that I cover in my job here at Education Week: English-language learners, public schools, education reform efforts, etc. She works closely with me on building the vocabulary and academic language I need to develop my skills for conducting interviews with Spanish-speaking students and their family members. She’s very skilled at asking me series of questions that I must thoughtfully consider and answer. She wants me to talk, talk, talk. She pays attention to my conjugation and makes corrections as she should, but she doesn’t obsess over every mistake I know I make when it comes to perfect pronunciation and accentuation.

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