Apprennez uma neue lingua σήμερα !

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Have you ever wondered how some people can learn to speak multiple languages when you are struggling to get through Spanish 1001? Well, while learning a new language isn't impossible for adults, the younger you are the more successful you are likely to be in learning one, two, or three other languages. One very interesting possible reason is the Experience-Expectant quality of language development. It is said that when we are born, we have the ability to identify (or at least differentiate between) all speech sounds that occur across cultures and languages. This ability is pruned away as we are exposed to the native language of the culture we are born into - for example, a French child will most likely lose the ability to distinguish between all sounds of Kikongo, the Bantu language spoken in parts of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. For this reason, it can be more difficult, as we age, to learn another language because we cannot always duplicate the tonal singularities of another language.

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This is not meant to dissuade you from learning a second language, however! Learning another language is not only beneficial professionally (it looks good on your résumé, and can help you reach higher levels in your professional workplace), and personally (traveling is more fun when you speak the language!), it also improves your cognitive language abilities. After eight years of Spanish, one year of Latin, and six years of French language courses (including studying abroad in France), I can confidently say that my metalinguistic insight - or my awareness of how language is structured and used - has improved significantly. Because a new language requires you to learn a new range of vocabulary, grammatical, and syntactic rules, your mind becomes more flexible and your ability to learn other difficult concepts improves.

So, if that Spanish class is giving you trouble, know that you might not reach a level of complete fluency but that it will ultimately be beneficial for your continued cognitive development!


PS Can you identify each language represented in the title of this blog?
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This is a very interesting topic. I, myself have been studying Spanish for 6 years, and have found that through studying another language not only have I learned how to structure sentances across cultures, but I have also found myself becoming more aware of how the English language works. When you are immersed in a language like a majority of us are in English, it becomes second nature and you don't really need to think of where to place the noun and the verb of a sentence. But when learning a different language you must think about these things and translating your knowledge between different languages.

I grew up in a household speaking two different languages, English as my primary and Arabic as my secondary. which are total opposite with speaking, writing, and reading. When I was growing up though, my school only offered German and Spanish, and I have to say it was hard to learn. In Spanish the grammar was difficult, the writing was backwards from english, and the language was hard to remember, especially from changing tenses from past, present etc. What was also difficult was when coming to college, in order to pass the 2nd language requirement I had to know more than just how to speak Arabic, I had to know how to write it as well, and that was something that I didnt do growing up, it was only spoken in my house hold not written. English was the dominating language in everything we did. So having to learn to write at an older age rather than younger was difficult.

I totally relate to the struggling with a different language, I had a very hard time getting through Spanish II in high school and I was very perplexed by those who took to it easily. But I knew I wasn't alone, there are a lot of people who struggle to learn a new language at an older age (not necessarily adults but more teens) has something to do with genetic or the environment one was raised in, just a theory. I can also see why it actually does improve cognitive skills, I've seen it in other people and in many academically successful people.

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This page contains a single entry by yesk0007 published on February 29, 2012 6:03 AM.

Autism: Paranoid or Prepared? was the previous entry in this blog.

What helps keep us aware of ourselves and the world around us? is the next entry in this blog.

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