I've started reading a scholarly book on the phenomenon called foreign accent. In the book's first chapter the author, a renowned professor at an American university, mentions the often repeated idea that children normally master their mother tongue, whereas if adults start learning an additional language they do not reach the same high level. To which the author adds the remark that this widely believed fact has been challenged. Included in round brackets is a reference to Spada 2011. Not knowing this source I consulted the reference section and found this:
credit: University of Toronto
Not very helpful - not helpful at all - and a nuisance!
Don't we write books for the academic readership? Don't we write them so that our colleagues are enabled to evaluate our statements, hypotheses, theories? Don't we all rely more or less on written sources when we give credit to what some other person thinks about the topic? Don't we all check the odd reference to an article in a journal or to a monograph? Yes, we do! How can we countercheck what Professor Nina Spada opined on that conference if we did not attend that forum or conference or whatever it was?