Kate, “an undergraduate student of linguistics somewhere in the American Midwest,” has started a language-oriented blog called CHAINIK (Russian for ‘teapot; (sl.) stupid person, dunce’); she has an interesting post about the “sharp divide between the students in our class who are learning Russian in order to use it, whether for reading literature or for job-related communication, and those who are learning Russian to understand it. The latter group is outnumbered 4:1.”
One of the more interesting observations I’ve made is that members of the smaller group tend to learn by taking in the whole picture, while members of the larger group are more able to integrate new facts into their Russian knowledge without analyzing them too closely. This is completely anecdotal, of course, but it does make me wonder if those that study linguistics are naturally predisposed to learn new languages in a different way.
I look forward to much more tea from the chainik!