Java as a second language — Eileen King

So, Scratch and are super popular, and a growing body of kids can program with them. But how to get them into programming in a ‘real’ language? Eileen is a linguist, and she argues that we can learn a lot from how we teach second languages to people. Going from blocks to text could be similar to learning English if you are Dutch. For example, for learning a second language, it is very important to be able to compare: notice difference and similarities in the two languages.

So the question is: would that help in programming too? And, would it be better to let students express the similarities themselves or is it better to stress them as a teacher? Does it help if, while learning the first language, that you are already made aware of similarities and differences?

Will people learning Java after blocks will always have their “block accent”? Awesome insights.

No preprint unfortunately :'(

This post was visited 228 times.

1 Comment

  1. Fabio Petrillo

    Hi Felienne,

    Really cool! I love this subject: software liguistic aspects! 🙂 Thus, I send you one of my code poems: The Universe in a Cup Of Coffe (in Java). 🙂

    Fabio Petrillo

    class TheUniverse extends MyCupOfCoffee {

    MyMind myIlusion;
    Dream iWakeUp;

    static void but() {};

    TheUniverse() throws MyImagination {
    while(TheTime.flows()) {


    if(iWakeUp.toReality()) {
    throw MyImagination.toAnotherDimension();
    static void So() {};

    TheUniverse expands(MyMind toInfinite) throws MyImagination {

    TheUniverse parallel = new Voyage(toInfinite);

    try {
    Dream anotherTime;
    return new TheUniverse();
    } finally {

Comments are closed.