Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘critical period

Benefits of a bilingual brain

How about mastering multiple-languages? Like Reading in original books?

The mastering of three languages is better, meaning you can easily read and write, in addition to understanding the spoken slang?

Just thinking we understand the spoken language does Not cut it. We have got to read the original authors and works.

Researchers now know that learning another language is actually an amazing way to keep your brain healthy.

Believe it or not, before the 1960s, researchers thought children learning other languages was a handicap.

People back in the day, reaction times on some language tests. made some hypotheses that must mean it’s a drawback for students to know more than their original language (biased tests?.

It won’t necessarily make you smarter, but Mia Nacamulli points out it’s now believed that being bilingual “exercises your brain and makes it stronger, more complex, and healthier.”

And if you’re young, you get an added bonus

What does being bilingual really achieve?

1. It changes the structure of your brain.

Researchers have observed being multilingual can visibly make the neurons and synapses in the brain’s gray matter denser and spur more activity in other regions of the brain when using another language.

Basically, it’s a brain workout!

And another neurological study notes the white matter in the brains of older lifelong bilinguals has a higher integrity compared to older monolinguals. (What integrity means in this context?)

2. It strengthens your brain’s abilities.

That gray matter up there contains all the neuronal cell bodies and stuff (that’s a technical term) that controls your muscles, senses, memory, and speech.

Newer studies show that those slow reaction times and errors on language tests really reflect that the effort of switching between languages is beefing up the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex — the part of your noggin’ that controls problem-solving, switching tasks, and focusing on important stuff while filtering out what’s irrelevant.

3. It can help delay Alzheimer and dementia disorders by as much as four or five years.

Yes. Sí. Oui. When bilinguals are compared to monolinguals, that is.

And although some cognitive research notes there’s still a similar rate of decline after onset, more years of a super-strong brain is always a good thing.

Now, this fourth one gets a little bit nuts.

Nacamulli says it’s believed there’s a key difference between a young bilingual person and someone who learns another language in adulthood.

4. There’s a theory that children who are bilingual get to be emotionally bilingual.

The parts of the brain that are being strengthened while speaking multiple languages include not just the analytical and logical side of the brain but the emotional and social side as well.

It’s called the critical period hypothesis.

The separation of the hemispheres increases as we grow up, and so when you’re a kid — the hypothesis holds — the two sides are a little more plastic and ready to work together while learning language.

Nacamulli says this could be why children seem to get the contextual social and emotional nuances of other languages better than grown-ups who became multilingual later and instead often think  like grown-ups.

Speaking more than one language turns our brains into powerhouses, and it makes our children more emotionally intelligent!

It’s definitely not a handicap. It’s a superpower.

For more on the magical bilingual brain, TED-Ed has some great info!

Note: Though I’m trilingual (speaks, reads and write), my verbal intelligence (rhetoric and clear vocalization of intentions) is pretty deficient. Verbal intelligence is a matter of nurturing while a kid (to be spoken to, asked your opinions, invited to mingle with grown up people, initiated to artistic courses…)

I have got no time for your lazy book on companionship; (October 7, 2009)


            It is no surprise that readers cherish physical descriptions of the main novel’s characters.  Most authors would go into extreme details and they immediately load upon us the whole physical characteristics upfront; as if the novel would be redundant without this instant presentation of the personality when his name is first mentioned.

            Who cares about the physical description of two persons if they are in good relationship? If they like the companionship then that is all that count. It is far more useful and meaningful to focus on describing the behavioral characteristics.  As long as the main characters are not abnormal physically, then when we like a person we do like a few behavioral characters in the partner; this liking is certainly for a period since we tend to change and develop.  Thus, the next critical period in our life is bound to force upon us selecting another restricted set of behaviors that are compatible with our new comprehension, goals, and maturity.

            Since we cannot change our behavior easily then the best strategy to retaining a companion is to attend to his changes or shifts of set of likes and dislikes. The next phase is to prove to the partner that we did recognize the changes and that we are doing our best to compensate for our shortcoming.  At least, this constant effort of investing time, energy, and good will to keeping updated on the partner’s mood and behavioral changes is the surest way of rekindling renewed interests.

            Acting up our new role must first capture the changes and demonstrate to the partner that we are sensitive to the new period. Constant effort to staying together is the basis of true friendship; it is so hard to retain a friend if we fail to discover the fixed core of his character.  There is an immutable core that represents an individual character and gives him his lasting personality.  This constant effort for tracking behavioral changes must be reciprocal unless you are a helpless romantic.

            I find it a pure laziness on the part of authors to dump their descriptions of the main characters, physically and behaviorally, from the start.  Every chapter or critical stage in the novel should bring another set of descriptions compatible to the phase in the story.  People change many times a day and it is the changes that make a story alive, palpable, and fraught with expectations. The reader must be encouraged to flip back to the appropriate pages to re-read how things are unfolding and led to imagine alternative endings if not discovering the main unchanging behavior in the characters.

            Even with a crippled character we get attached to one or a couple physical traits that we hate for them to change during a period. It is these principle traits that count for the story.  It is the author job to let us share his anxieties and follow his train of thoughts at every turn.  We need to feel the changes by focusing of the relevant traits, physical or behavioral, that keep us on our toes.


            Easy reading means easier forgetting and that is not worth the effort for writing a book.




September 2022

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