For example, in Swedish, the word for future is framtid which literally means “front time”. Visualising the future as in front of us (and the past as behind us) is also very common in English. We look forward to the good times ahead and to leaving the past behind us.
But for speakers of Aymara (spoken in Peru), looking ahead means looking at the past. The word for future (qhipuru) means “behind time” – so the spatial axis is reversed: the future is behind, the past is ahead. The logic in Aymara appears to be this: we can’t look into the future just like we can’t see behind us. The past is already known to us, we can see it just like anything else that appears in our field of vision, in front of us.
In one study, Chinese-English bilinguals were asked to arrange pictures of a young, mature, and old Brad Pitt and Jet Li. They arranged the former horizontally, with the young Brad Pitt to the left and the old Brad Pitt to the right. But the same people arranged the pictures of Jet Li vertically, with young Jet Li appearing at the top and old Jet Li appearing at the bottom. It seems that culture and meaning form a tight bond as this context-dependent shift in behaviour shows.
- Has learning a different language changed the way you think?
- Try an experiment – talk to a few people of similar background, except that one is monolingual, while others have differing abilities to speak other languages. Ask them the same question, for example, what hobbies are suitable for students. Do they respond differently?
- Are these ideas useful for you?
- How can you use these ideas?
- What would you do?
Read here: http://www.npr.org/2016/04/17/474525392/attention-students-put-your-laptops-away
Mueller and Oppenheimer cited that note-taking can be categorized two ways: generative and nongenerative. Generative note-taking pertains to “summarizing, paraphrasing, concept mapping,” while nongenerative note-taking involves copying something verbatim.
And there are two hypotheses to why note-taking is beneficial in the first place. The first idea is called the encoding hypothesis, which says that when a person is taking notes, “the processing that occurs” will improve “learning and retention.” The second, called the external-storage hypothesis, is that you learn by being able to look back at your notes, or even the notes of other people.
Because people can type faster than they write, using a laptop will make people more likely to try to transcribe everything they’re hearing. So on the one hand, Mueller and Oppenheimer were faced with the question of whether the benefits of being able to look at your more complete, transcribed notes on a laptop outweigh the drawbacks of not processing that information. On the other hand, when writing longhand, you process the information better but have less to look back at.
But the students taking notes by hand still performed better. “This is suggestive evidence that longhand notes may have superior external storage as well as superior encoding functions,” Mueller and Oppenheimer write.
- What’s your note-taking style? Do you feel that it’s beneficial to you? Have you tried other ways?
- What are some other effective ways to take notes?
Soon, I realized why I was wrong about languages.
I used to look at learning a language as most of us are led to believe:
- Memorize many words and phrases
- Apply grammar to them to make sentences
- Practice with others to make your reactions automatic
Needless to say, it’s easy to get tired of this process and lose motivation. It took me quite a while to break free from this mindset.
I came to understand that the secret recipe for mastering a language is the following:
Master every bit of the culture and you can achieve native-like mastery of the language itself.
Mastering English has been an incredible gift in my life. I received a new mindset, a new set of emotions, and a new way of thinking. My personality has been subtly but powerfully impacted. I would say I even took on a secondary identity. Cultural semantics has played a very important role in this process. But what is cultural semantics?
To put it simply, cultural semantics is the study of the meaning of words and phrases and their connection to culture. Many words in a language are unique; they cannot be exactly translated into other languages. Every word has a whole range of connotations, images, and associations that you cannot map to another language.
- How far do you agree with these ideas?
- To what extent are they applicable to your own learning?
- What other tips do you have for language learning?
Why learning a language is harder than we think…
Emotion is essential to learning, Dr. Immordino-Yang said, and should not be underestimated or misunderstood as a trend, or as merely the “E” in “SEL,” or social-emotional learning. Emotion is where learning begins, or, as is often the case, where it ends. Put simply, “It is literally neurobiologically impossible to think deeply about things that you don’t care about,” she said.
Bilinguals get all the perks. Better job prospects, a cognitive boost and even protection against dementia. Now new research shows that they can also view the world in different ways depending on the specific language they are operating in.
The past 15 years have witnessed an overwhelming amount of research on the bilingual mind, with the majority of the evidence pointing to the tangible advantages of using more than one language. Going back and forth between languages appears to be a kind of brain training, pushing your brain to be flexible.