How Becoming Multilingual Can Change You And Your View Of The World

Open_book_2Do you speak a second language? Although some people are bilingual, and even trilingual, most people are only fluent in a single language. Being multilingual comes with a number of benefits. The following are a few of the ways learning a new language can change your entire life.

For starters, learning a language will give a person the ability to better communicate with those they’ve never communicated with before. What does this do? Successfully communicating with people of other languages helps a person see that group much differently. A person will no longer view this particular group as strangers; instead, they will have formed a connection and a more complete view of this group.

It’s almost impossible to completely learn a new language without becoming exposed to the culture surrounding that language. In fact, many language instructors encourage their students to become familiar with a particular culture as they begin learning the related language. That being said, becoming multilingual encourages a person to become a more cultured human being.

In addition to seeing a particular group of people differently, learning a new language can help a person see the entire world in a different way. Research has shown that studying and speaking a new language affects the subconscious mind. By only speaking one language, a person develops a narrow perspective of the world. Developing the ability to speak several languages allows a person’s mind to entertain different perspectives that they may have never envisioned.

Becoming multilingual may also help to make a person smarter. While learning to speak as infants, most children aren’t conscious of what they’re doing. Adults who learn new languages are forced to think critically about what they’re doing. Students must study vocabulary and understand what words mean. They also must focus on properly pronouncing each word correctly. Even constructing a proper sentence in a foreign language can become a mental challenge.

These are all just a few of the ways learning a completely different language can affect you. Again, those who make an effort to learn a new language will become exposed to different people and different cultures. Participants will consciously, and subconsciously, develop a different view of the entire world and increase their intelligence.

If you want to start learning a new language, then check out a few of our favorite websites such as Little Language Site as well as the Rosetta Stone series of language learning tools.

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Discover the Best Strategy to Aid You in Learning a New Language

One of the most important things about life is our ability to grow and learn, but some things are difficult such as the ability to learn a new language. Many people have tried this task. For instance, a number of students take a course French or Spanish in school. Unfortunately, most of them fail the course or fail to follow through and forget the things they learn. Part of any language learning strategy is to make use of the language as much as possible. This simple process refines the brain’s understanding and translation of the words and it reinforces the syntax of the language in your mind.

diversityThere are of course other language learning strategies you may wish to consider. For example, there are various memory training techniques that can help you learn a new language. The most basic of these are rote memorization. Unfortunately, this is a difficult way to learn a language such as French. This language uses more than simple word syntax. It also supports language gender making it seem more difficult to comprehend. However, that is part of the beauty of the language and it can be a useful aid in helping you understand its syntax.

Another useful memory tool is Mnemonics. This memorization method works because you can associate one thing with something else. In many cases this is an image which you associate with a particular word. Another possibility is linking two words together. The trick is finding words that enhance the meaning to you. Some people also find rhyming or even singing to be an excellent aid for learning a language. You can take a common song that you know the words to and translate it to the language you are learning. This helps you build references in your mind that will then help you understand the words you want to speak.

It is important to remember that it took you a few years to learn your native language and learning to speak a new one can be just as difficult. Thankfully, learning at home can make this task a little easier. It allows you to work at your own pace and take the task in steps that you feel comfortable with. Many people find this much more bearable as they work through the difficult and time consuming task of listening and repeating the words they are learning to speak.

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Are We Rolling Back In Time?

sochiI was just reading an article about how the USSR was restricting travelers to their nation from the West as well as restricting contact between travelers and the country.  This article from 1984 details the theory that the reasoning was to limit the contact between Soviet scientists and their American counterparts.  It was the Cold War, of course, and things were bad.  But now with Russia being very strange indeed could we be heading for frostier times with the country?

It’s interesting to look back and see if we can’t, as humans, learn from our mistakes.

In July, the State Department in Washington issued a broad analysis noting that the Soviets had tightened the laws on internal security, amending the provision on state crimes in a way that “has placed sweeping authority in the hands of the authorities.” According to the analysis, the definition of state secret has been broadened to include the concept “‘work-related secret.’ As a result, Soviet citizens face the possibility of criminal charges if they provide virtually any kind of information to a foreigner without official authorization.” Some observers here note that if the law is applied rigorously, Soviet scientists would not be able to discuss their work with foreigners.

Before laws on state crimes are enforced they require implementing legislation in the separate Soviet Republics. Until that occurs, it will not be possible to gauge their impact. Knowledgeable observers here say that Soviet laws are often put on the books to be available if policy requires it but may be selectively enforced.

The State Department analysis comment:

“How these changes in the criminal code will be implemented in the post-Andropov period remains to be seen. Their very existence, however, is sure to have a chilling effect on contacts between Soviet citizens and foreigners and so affect those who travel in the U.S.S.R. as tourists or to meet relatives or who engage in business, exchange or academic activities.”

A less portentous change already in effect seems likely to cut into informal contacts between visiting American and foreign scientists and their Soviet opposite numbers. A change in the rules passed by the Supreme Soviet on 25 May prohibits Soviet citizens from providing foreigners with “housing or means of transportation or . . . other services in violation of established regulations.” One section is interpreted here as being aimed at discouraging Soviet citizens with private automobiles from transporting foreigners and from inviting them to stay overnight in their homes.

It remains to be seen how this Winter’s Olympics games will go.  There are already security measures in place such as an evacuation team to quickly get the athletes out in case of any sort of emergency situation.  It will be interesting indeed.  Already Barack Obama has refused to attend the Olympic opening ceremony because of Russia’s recent anti-gay laws.  Instead, a couple openly gay athletes will be there in his place.  Pretty cool if you ask me.

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Users Inquire About Computer Settings

oldcomputerRecently some users have inquired about some computer settings on their laptops.  Apparently they had bought a mouse that had some extra buttons and they were unable to assign those buttons to an action.  However, it came to light that they simply plugged in the mouse without first installing the proper drivers.  They had no idea what a driver even was.  We explained to them that drivers are just small pieces of software that enable the hardware (such as the mouse) on their computer to interface with their operating system (in this case, Windows).  Sometimes drivers need to be installed in order to get the maximum usage out of their hardware.  There are some hardware devices, such as mice and keyboards, that can run with plug and play drivers that are already installed in Windows.  But you won’t be able to access the unique features of the keyboard or mouse (such as special programmable buttons) without first installing the driver that is specific to that model of hardware.

In order to easily and quickly update drivers, we suggested the use of driver update software, such as Driver Detective.  (check out a Driver Detective review here)  This program is an excellent resource in terms of being able to easily and quickly update drivers without any sort of hassle.  The reason that most people don’t update their drivers on a regular basis is that they just don’t know how to do it.  Or, if they do know how, they don’t want to spend the time on it.  Updating drivers is a very tedious process and it can really bore most people.

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Old Reviews, New Again

A historic review of “My Beautiful Laundrette”.  It’s nice to look back and see the differences and similarities in movie reviews over time.

“A recent letter from a reader complimented me on not having “gone to pieces” over the homosexual element in My Beautiful Laundrette as, said the letter, other reviewers had done. I no longer read many film reviews so I wasn’t aware of those other disintegrations. But the letter made me realize that the possibility of going to pieces had never occurred to me: and then I begin to wonder why it hadn’t. In other words, why had I accepted the homesexual love affair simply as a love affair? It was notable to me only because this minority manifestation of love (which, statistically, it is) seemed especially apt for a film about minority social circumstances in general. But the love affair hadn’t begun to test me in any way. Why not?

A major reason, of course, is social. To have lived in New York during the past 30 years is to have seem homosexual lives come out of closest and out of much more luxurious hiding places. I, like everyone else, have seem the publications, the bookshops, the gay-pride parades, the legislation against prejudice. At universities I’ve seem the homosexual clubs, male and female, the gay bars, the gay film festivals. In the theater I’ve seen many, many plays about homosexuals, most of them (like most plays in general) dreadful, but occasionally (Torch Song Trilogy, for instance) of true importance. I’ve read about gay houses of worship in several faiths. And I’ve seen contemporaries of mine discoverer that children of theirs are homosexual. Most telling and conclusive of all (this is far past cliche), some of my best friends are homosexual. Since they are my friends and are homosexual, it was up to me–not up to them–to alter. In short, like all people of my generation who were reared with prejudices on the subject, I, a person and patently maculate goodwill, have been forced by social mutation, by reason, and by affection, to change.

But that’s only one set of reasons. Another reason for looking at that recent film without discomfort is the change in film itself during the last 25 years. “Before 1961,” Stephen Farber wrote Saturday Review, October 1981), “the Production code, Hollywood’s censorship ordinance, forbade any hint of ‘sex perversion.’ When the code was finally revised to allow discreet treatment of homosexuality, the first movies on the subject–Advise and Consent and The Children’s Hour–depicted gays as repressed and miserably unhappy.” Since then, of course, the number of homosexual films has swelled, and the treatment of homosexuals has acquired an emotional and psychological range virtually as wide as that used for heterosexuals. The homosexual film now exists.

The crassest proof is the strongest Variety, April 9, 1986, has a long story with a full-page headline: “Gay-Themed Features Hot B.O. Stuff.” One of the distributors says, “The gay audience is nothing to sneeze at,” and there is evidence that “crossover” audiences are also supporting gay films.

For 24 hours I lived in willed ignorant bliss on the subject. The next day, April 10, I saw a segment of “20/20″ (ABC) about gay-bashing, which is virulent throughout the country, freshly fueled by panic about AIDS. The segment began with diatribes from Jerry Falwell and a couple of other compassionate Christians, then went on to interview some of the haters, some of the victims (shockingly beaten,) some officials of homosexual groups reporting on conditions. We can’t tell ourselves that this hatred is smalltown, redneck stuff: much of the harassment and violence is in big cities. The viciousness that has always been there and that may perhaps have been lightly lulled has been exploded again by AIDS–which is, I need hardly add, grossly misunderstood. The last shot of the segment was of a girl of about ten in a crowd, shouting the word “pervert.” Freeze-frame of a child’s face fixed in venom.

So, on this subject as on so many others, our country contains two harshly contradictory movements. In this case, it seems to be a nine-to-one conflict: according to “20/20,” about 20 million Americans are estimated to be homosexual, or about one out of ten. And in the light of the success of gay films, limited but solid, that conflict becomes all the more scary–even fantastic. Suppose that, in these days of the smash success of The Color Purple (whose quality is not the issue here), “20/20″ has shown a segment about the tarring and feathering of blacks, about black lynchings. One’s sense of reality would be at risk. For a moment after the TV homosexual segment, I almost felt I had to check the calendar.”

Kauffmann, Stanley. “Dona Herlinda and her son.” The New Republic 12 May 1986: 24+.

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Back Online

The blog is back online!  Check back for new content on a regular basis.

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