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Tuesday, January 7, 2014


Language & The Brain
Thank you, Latin, for firing up my neurons! I've often read that learning a new language is one of the best, if not the best, means of boosting memory and brain activity by creating new pathways. It sure seems to have worked for me.

About halfway through the semester, I suddenly began to experience the Latin on a deeper level. Not that it became easy or simple, but rather that what I was learning made sense. Further, everything else I was reading also became clearer.

In fact, during this winter break, while re-organizing my novel manuscript, I pulled out a book I'd purchased as research. The book is "Daughters of Saturn" by Patricia Reis and when I tried to read it a few years ago, the writing felt so complex that I simply could not get through it. I felt like the material was way over my head. Guess what? It now makes sense. How weird
is that?

Why do I attribute this new clarity primarily to learning Latin? It's because over the years I've taken other courses on a myriad of topics, but none of them created this kind of recognition, of clearing, like a film has been pulled away.

This week, I am cracking open my Latin books again. They've been sitting beside my desk this entire break because my intention was to review vocabulary once a day to keep it all fresh. Alas, that fell by the wayside because I was so relieved that all the pressure had been lifted for a while. But now, with classes looming ahead next week, I want to feel prepared, so… Hello again, Latin!


  1. There's something about those "old" languages isn't there :)

  2. I had four years of Latin in high school and find that the vocabulary I learned is still useful.

    1. The roots, ahhh…the roots. Is that what you mean? That you still see the Latin roots in so much of our English?

      It's also funny because, oddly, I've now read two novels that stuck in Latin here and there and I was so excited because I could read it! LOL

  3. I was doing some research last week for a curriculum I'm writing, and part of it had to do with brain development. It was stuff I probably knew before, but some of the details are more recently discovered, thanks to ever evolving MRI technology. What was particularly fascinating was to go deeper into the biology behind why toddlers and children can pick up languages so much more easily than adults. A 1 year old is forming synapses at the rate of 700 per SECOND, and yet the brain begins pruning unnecessary ones in childhood, all the way through mid adolescence, in order to be more efficient. I would imagine that learning a new language in adulthood wakes up some synapses, for sure! :-)

    1. That sounds interesting, Brenda! I'm a wee bit science-challenged, as it's never been a focus of mine, so maybe it was synapses instead of neurons firing! LOL I think it was the book "The Brain That Changes Itself" that I read a couple years ago that gave me goosebumps in breaking myths about what we thought we knew about the brain's ability to grow and change.


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