[Pdx-pm] Lisp class, L2 acquisition, Prolog, etc.

Randall Lucas rlucas at tercent.com
Mon May 2 11:32:42 PDT 2005

My goodness,

What a lot of interesting talk this query has elicited.  I put my 
comments on the tangential issues below.  But the question remains: is 
there a good institution in Portland where I can find a structured group 
class on Lisp (or for that matter, Haskell etc.)?  I'm hoping to hear, 
"oh, call the CS department at OGI" or something of that sort.

Thank you for the suggestion of finding some mentoring, but my 
motivation in finding a class is partly that I'd like to find some other 
like minded folks who are in "student" mode -- team building for 
entrepreneurial ventures among "woker" mode folks has been very 
frustrating for me, and one of my goals is to assemble my next team.

As far as Prolog, what on Earth might I use this for?  Graham wrote 
Yahoo Shopping in Lisp, but would it make sense to write the Next Big 
Thing in Prolog?  I ultimately would like to beleive in the potential 
utility of the next language I undertake.

WRT second language acquisition, I humbly submit that Ovid's link to the 
web site quoting from a 1992 "debunking" of L2 acquisition 
misconceptions is part of an organization advocating for education 
funding, etc., and that the "myths" they cite are orthogonal to the 
proposition put forth by Michael: namely, that there is a "point" at 
which part of the L2 process become much harder or impossible.  From my 
(100-level undergrad) linguistics coursework, I recall that the specific 
learning capabilities that young children have that adults lack are 
those that deal with phonetics, not with syntax, etc.  Specifically, 
adult L2 learners are at a huge disadvantage when it comes to correct 
pronunciation, and with distinguishing language-specific phonetic 
subtleties.  As I understand it, one learns as a child to make and 
differentiate certain sounds as being lingusitically meaningful, and it 
is much harder as an adult to pick up on those sounds.  Think Asian 
tonal languages, how northeasterners says "Mary," "merry," and "marry" 
differently, or euro-vowels with umlauts and such -- the reigning notion 
is that the door closes at some point on the ability to learn 
effortlessly to make and distinguish these sounds.

PS -- I think Graham's point about age is not that the intellectual door 
closes at 25, but that Life starts to make it impractical to be really 
flexible and radical in digesting new things.  Hard to devote yourself 
to late night hacking when you're trying to make VP so you can send 
junior to private school, etc.

Randall Lucas			DF93EAD1
Tercent, Inc / SuperSurvey Online Surveys

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