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So far, I have noticed some questions that are not really related to the process of learning a language, but effect of it to the learners. Three examples:

Is this kind of question on-topic? For the first two questions, I don't see any different between them (in fact they are asked from one user, tagged with only one tag: neurology), yet received two different altitudes. The third question is mine, and I would argue that if we are fine with questions ask for neurology aspect of the learners, then we will be fine with questions ask for the economic aspect.

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    I don't see a common thread through these questions. They are distinct, and each was handled as it was for different reasons. – Flimzy Jun 17 '16 at 6:29
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I don't think the response is as mixed as it may seem; we're dealing with three different types of questions:

Does learning a second language happen in the same part of the brain as learning a first language? ✓ On-Topic

I agree that this question is on-topic, as it clearly asks about language learning and its associated cognitive functions.

Why does learning languages help with aversing dementia? ✗ Off-Topic

As Robert Cartaino said in his comment about closing the question:

...the neuroscience of dementia is a subject of cognitive sciences or possibly Health. This question doesn't really deal with expertise or learning techniques of language acquisition as intended by this site.

This is mostly a good question because it is well-researched and specific, the problem is that this question is more about dementia than language learning, and LL.SE isn't the proper site to ask about dementia.

Is there any evidence that vocabulary level is a good measure for predicting success? ✗ Unclear

This question is not so off-topic as it is unclear, as the close reason adequately denotes. The quote is ambiguous, and the final question is not specific, let alone specifically about language learning and/or its associated processes. In addition, "success" is subjective.


I believe that in general questions about the effect of language learning to the learners are on-topic, of course, depending on the question.

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There's a very fine borderline between about language learning and not about language learning.

I would say the first question is barely on-topic, as it seems to be about the actual process of learning languages, which is actually on-topic.

On the other hand, both of the other questions have to do with the effects of language learning, not the process itself. You could've just as easily replaced language learning and vocabulary level in the second and third question, with something like Why does having brown hair help with aversing demntia? and Is there any evidence that having blue eyes is a good measure for predicting success?

Both of the other questions don't have to directly do with language learning, rather, they have to do with other factors that merely involve language learning, which is off-topic here.

  • Downvoter, care to explain? – fi12 Jun 17 '16 at 12:37

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