Is Your Native Language a Help or a Hindrance?

Is Your Native Language a Help or a Hindrance?

When I started my Vietnamese intensive course, a lot of non-linguistists I talked to said that the Chinese students would have an advantage because they already speak a tonal language. It is true that some westerns could be completely stumped by tones, and just not get the language at all. But, a person who already speaks a tonal language does not have an advantage over a westerner or a Korean or Japanese who is intelligent, motivated and who is trying to learn tones.

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