African Languages on My Brain Day 6

Today is my last day in paradise. The weather cools. The Internet does not cooperate.  The Universe tells me to focus on learning Amharic. I guessed the parts of the body last night on the computer program. I need to study more.  I wonder why I have not spent more time utilizing the skills that I learned from my previous relationships with languages in this relationship. I make a commitment to use the skills from the past relationships to gain depth as well as breadth with this one.

At some stage, you start to dream in your target language. One has achieved true intimacy when speaking the target language fluently in your dreams. Speaking fluently in your dreams signal that only anxiety separates you from perfect speech during your waking hours.

As the brain ages neurons that are weak or unused tend to be pruned away to leave more efficient connections for those that are performing important brainwork. Crystallized intelligence increases with age and is basically unaffected by time. One’s verbal ability and accumulated knowledge tends to increase during the life span. Fluid intelligence peaks during early adulthood and declines during the life span. Fluid intelligence involves mental flexibility, speed, short-term memory as well as the ability to learn in novel situations.  Young people perform well on items that hold no particular meaning for them. Mature adults appear to do better at recognition tasks and on recall of information in their area of expertise.

My brain has pruned weak neurons to build capacity for neurons needed to earn a living. My crystallized intelligence or fund of knowledge must make an association with the new language. I learn words that are very similar in pronunciation in both languages mango, karot, cucumber. I return to my previous relationships with languages for strategies. Learn the nouns, verbs and add adjectives and adverbs. Speak in short 3 to 5 word sentences and work on communication. Grammar structure comes later.

Fluid intelligence peaks in young adulthood but decline can be slowed with persistent application and the willingness to take risks. Short-term memory can be enhanced with mnemonics Why = lemen visualize yellow lemon for Why in Amharic. Who =Man visualize a man for who.

My mind turns to ways that I need to work on my relationship when I return home. Ahhh being promiscuous has its advantages when starting a new relationship. I use to walk 5 miles a day with my Walkman to learn a new language. I commit to 5 miles a day with the IPod in my Iphone. I went to the gym with my walkman and completed household chores with my language penetrating my brain by exposure through my subconscious mind. I listened to my recordings in my car. I talked to myself in the target language. I sat at the computer at least 1 hour a day and interacted with several computer games to keep my brain agile.  So I use what I have learned in the previous relationships to establish the intimacy in this relationship.

Intensive memory is required in using symbolic communication. As language evolved, the brain adapted to improve short and long term memory. Auditory retention is more difficult when words are presented in isolation rather than context. So I need to spend some time studying the grammatical structure of sentences and making my own sentences.

A chaotic and stressful life does   not offer the opportunity to learn a new language effectively and efficiently. If I am going to establish this relationship with Amharic, I need to create order in my life, which means ignoring people and simply having the language in my ear via my IPod. So I think the key is to learn carry out my daily activities with an earplug to my MP3 player.

Short-term memory holds a fact as long as you think about it.  Working memory involves using the information for some practical purpose, which reinforces it. Transferring information from short term to working memory to intermediate memory and then permanent encoding into long-term memory requires repetition and practice. Over learning can help enhance the process of transferring information from short term to long-term memory. When I speak of listening to the language throughout the day and night as I return to my daily life, I make use of overlearning.

Learning a language involves the coordinated activity of many brain areas.  Learning a second language requires more involvement of the right brain. Evidence suggests that memories may be formed through the establishment of new brain circuits or the alteration of existing circuits. Strong new memories involve both chemical changes in their physical structure. Memories are acquired by solidifying events in the brain, which occurs more easily when utilizing associate reasoning. I learn new words by repeating them over and over again and making an association with their counterpart in English or any other language that I know.

The formation and recall of memory is influenced by mood, surroundings and gestalt at the time the memory is formed and retrieved. The frontal cortex is part of the brain that neatly organizes memories into a temporal, logical and meaningful story. It must be set in motion by the amygdale, which provides an emotional tag to memory, a meaning that helps cement the pieces.

Extroverts learn languages by interacting with people constantly. They enjoy the stimulation of people to people contact and learning languages appears easy for them. Introverts learn by taking in information and experiencing it. I prefer to use computer programs and recordings to create positive experiences with languages and then interact from a position of being able to internalize the principles.

There is a difference in spoken language and a language-learning recording. The recordings provide a prelude or familiarization with language. They provide an opportunity to practice the sounds and modify the muscles in the upper respiratory system. I take every opportunity to create a positive language learning experience.  I am making progress.

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