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Showing posts from October, 2018

High-Income WASP Schooled By Low-Income Minority in Language Acquisition

I am the poster child educational privilege. I was born in a high-income country to a married mother and father, both of whom completed masters’ degrees. They taught me to read before I started Kindergarten. With those advantages, I cannot remember a time when I was the person least likely to understand what was happening in a room. Learning a language as an adult (a sleep-deprived adult, in fact) will turn that paradigm upside down. For a very, very long time (maybe forever): I will be the person who knows the least about what is happening in a room in Cambodia. Despite the patient work of our language helpers the past month, I am just as likely to say “I am sad” as “I am happy” when greeting someone in Khmer. And probably most likely to say nothing at all intelligible. Fortunately, medical school and residency helped cultivate humility: while I was never educationally disadvantaged, I was often the individual with the least working knowledge of a subject. Completing trainin