Interesting language learning articles – January 2012

Here we’ve compiled a series of articles which may be of interest to language learners and linguaphiles, all from January 2012.

1) How to maximise your memory – The Guardian, 14 Jan 2012

Forget rote learning, one of the best ways to commit something to memory is to think of associated images – the more outlandish, the better.

The brain is often likened to a muscle, the suggestion being that if you exercise it, its function will improve. A bodybuilder can strengthen his biceps by repeatedly lifting weights and so, the argument goes, you can improve your memory by repeating over and over to yourself (either out loud or sub-vocally) the information you wish to remember.

For years, researchers considered that “rehearsing” information in this way was necessary to retain it in your short-term memory and transfer it into long-term memory. This view fits with our instinct that if we want to remember something like a phone number, we say it to ourselves again and again in the hope that it “sticks”. Generations of students have held fast to the principle that repeatedly reading through lecture notes and textbooks, attempting to rote learn the facts needed for exams, is the path to success.

There is evidence that the more an item is rehearsed, the greater the likelihood of long-term retention. In one study, participants were presented with a list of words and were asked to rehearse the list out loud. When asked to recall the words, memory retrieval improved as a direct function of the amount of rehearsal that was undertaken. However, in almost all circumstances, simple rote rehearsal is much less effective than strategies that involve thinking about the meaning of the information you are trying to remember.

Check out the rest of the article on The Guardian

2) Learning a language may come down to gestures – Washington Post, 10 Jan 2012

Gestures make it easier to learn a language, researchers discover

Language classes of the future might come with a physical workout because people learn a new tongue more easily when words are accompanied by cialis sale movement.

Manuela Macedonia and Thomas Knoesche at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig, Germany, enrolled 20 volunteers in a six-day course to learn “Vimmi”, a phony language designed to make study results easier to interpret. Half of the material was taught using only spoken and written instructions and exercises, while the other half was taught with body movements to accompany each word, which the students were asked to act out.

Students remembered significantly more of the words taught with movement, and they used them more readily when creating sentences, according to the researchers.

Rest of the story at Washington Post

3) Why language study should be part of your college experience, CNN, 5 Jan 2012

Russell A. Berman, 2011 President of the Modern Language Association and professor of Comparative Literature and German Studies at Stanford University talks about why the decision to learn a foreign language is one of the best you can make. “Learning another language will open the door to another culture and enhance your career opportunities in the increasingly global economy. Having strong skills in another language may give you

buy viagra online

an edge when applying for a job. That unique ability will set you apart from other applicants and show a potential employer that you have demonstrated long-term discipline in acquiring specialized knowledge.”

Check out the rest of the article on the CNN blog.

Share this:

About The Author

Kenneth is Director of Euroasia. He is passionate about languages and cultures.

No Comments

Leave A Reply