Dr. Robert Lado (born May
31, 1915, Tampa, Florida) was an
American expert on modern linguistics. Born to Spanish immigrants,
his parents relocated to Spain before he had a chance to learn
English. He returned to the
States at the age of 21, and began to learn English as an
This allowed him to develop and understanding and
sensitivity to the challenges confronting immigrants
and speakers of other languages
learning English as a second language.
received his Bachelor of Arts from
College in Winter Park, Florida and his Master of Arts from the
Texas at Austin. He later receceived his doctorate from the
He later became a Professor of English and
the Director of the University of Michigan's English Language
Institute. After several years at the University of
Michigan, he joined the staff of Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.
At Georgetown, served as dean of the
Institute of Languages (later renamed the Faculty of Languages and
Linguistics), for 13 years.
Dr. Lado obtained a Ford-Fulbright Foundation grant to establish
English departments at five universities in Spain and has
cooperated with universities in Latin
. He traveled extensively throughout the world
lecturing on linguistics and has received worldwide recognition and
honors including honorary doctorates from Georgetown and Sophia University in Tokyo,Japan.
He later founded and served as president of the Lado International
College, a successful language instruction institution based on an
academically rigorous English education program for speakers of
other languages. The school has three campuses in the Washington Metropolitan Area
(Washington,D.C., Arlington, Virginia and Silver Springs, Maryland).
During his life, he was member of the Spanish Catholic Center in
Washington. He also received the medal of honor from the Daughters of the American
of the District of Columbia, and was one of the
co-founders of Teachers of English to Speakers of Other
professional association with a mission of teaching English to
foreign students.. The Robert Lado Memorial Award
Outstanding Student Paper award is named after him.
Robert Lado is considered one of the founders of modern contrastive linguistics
, which as a
subdiscipline of applied
, served the purpose of improving language teaching
materials. His most influential book is Linguistics across
cultures: Applied linguistics for language teachers
states that "…in the comparison between native and foreign language
lies the key to ease or difficulty in foreign language learning" .
The book outlines methods for comparing two systems of sound,
, writing and culture
Lado and Fries have both been associated with the strong version of
the contrastive hypothesis
: the belief that difficulties
in learning a language can be predicted on the basis of a
systematic comparison of the system of the learner’s first language
(its grammar, phonology and lexicon) with the system of a second