Virtual Round Table Web Conference

Question 1 of 5 questions asked at the Virtual Round Table on Demand live online event on Feburary 17, 2005.

My question to Noam Chomsky (Anna Linthe)
My first language is English and I started learning German at school when I was 13. I have continued to learn German since then, including spending 2 years in Germany, and I speak German with my husband at home. I find now that my German affects my English in different ways for example, sometimes German words slip into my English speech, and these often seem to be discourse markers (e.g. also, which is like well). At other times I seem to directly translate a chunk which I have learned in German into English (e.g. Whats that for an animal? meaning What kind of animal is that?). At other times I can remember the German word and the direct translation of it but not the English (e.g. cake slice is Kuchenheber in German, and sometimes I will only be able to think of the literal cake lifter in English and not be able to get past this to the actual English word). What cognitive processes do you think are behind this? Do you think this would happen if I had acquired both languages at a very young age?

A learning conversation with a great author, professor, teacher or public speaker is the concept of the free of charge Virtual Round Table on Demand program which is conducted by LANCELOT School (

LANCELOT School is an innovative, inspiring and sociable teacher training center for language teachers.

Virtual Round Table with Noam Chomsky was sponsored by LearningTimes ( and (

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