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  #1  
Old 06-14-2004, 03:18 PM
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Anybody else bilingual here? read on

Two Languages Better Than One to Keep Mind Young

Mon Jun 14,12:12 PM ET Add Health - Reuters to My Yahoo!


By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Correspondent

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Two languages are better than one when it comes to keeping the brain young, Canadian researchers reported on Monday.

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Older adults who grew up bilingual had quicker minds when tested than people who spoke only one language, the researchers found. They showed less of the natural decline associated with aging.


The tests of people who grew up speaking English and either Tamil or French suggested that having to juggle two languages keeps the brain elastic and may help prevent some of the mental slowing caused by age, the researchers said.


Writing in the journal Psychology and Aging, Ellen Bialystok of York University in Canada and colleagues said they tested 104 monolingual and bilingual middle-aged adults aged 30 to 59 and 50 older adults aged 60 to 88.


They used a test called the Simon Task, which measures reaction time for cognitive tasks, such as recognizing on which part of a computer screen a colored square appears.


Both younger and older bilinguals were faster on the test, Bialystok reported.


"We compared groups of people who, as far as we could tell, are exactly the same," Bialystok said in a telephone interview.


"They have all had the same amount of education. They all scored exactly the same on cognitive tests. They all perform the same on memory tests. And they also score the same on tests in English vocabulary."


The difference was that half the people grew up with either French or Tamil spoken at home and English outside. They all spoke both languages every day from childhood.


People who were proficient in a second language acquired in school were not included in the study to keep the effects clear.


"It's not a facility. It's not a talent," Bialystok said. Rather it was a case of being forced from a young age to function in two languages.


Bialystok said her earlier study with children suggested these circumstances force a change in the way the brain processes information.


"In the monolingual group the differences between the younger adults and the older adults were in line with (the decline seen) in previous research," Bialystok said.


"In the older bilingual they slowed down significantly less, dramatically less."


Bialystok has not tested people who acquired languages later in life but believes learning new languages can only be good for the brain.


"Language is always good -- more language is always better," she said.
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Old 06-14-2004, 03:32 PM
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And to think that all the years I hated taking foreign languages! I thought it was my hate keeping me bright, young, and warm......
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Old 06-14-2004, 04:00 PM
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Does sign language count? I think reserchers have shown that sign language still comes from the language part of the brain.
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Old 06-14-2004, 05:16 PM
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Still lookin' for that bardii-to-english dictonary
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Old 06-14-2004, 06:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by rickg
Still lookin' for that bardii-to-english dictonary
English hell. Bard ii-ese to anything would be a four-dimensional hypercube.

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Old 06-14-2004, 06:43 PM
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Or maybe a mobius band
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Old 06-14-2004, 07:38 PM
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  #8  
Old 06-14-2004, 08:37 PM
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I am trying very hard to become bi-lingual (possibly tri-lingual?) so that it is possible to work in or for the EU. Six years of French (grades 7-12) got me nowhere, so I'm starting over with German.
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Old 06-14-2004, 08:43 PM
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I speak the fluent Spanish so so French and was getting pretty good at Russian but that takes decades to master so I let that one go but I can still communicate over the phone they just have to talk real slow.
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Old 06-14-2004, 09:40 PM
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I know more languages than I can count on my fingers.
Sometimes it's hard not to confuse the grammar and words from one language to another.
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Old 06-14-2004, 10:17 PM
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I have a friend who is a a bi-lingual illiterate, he can't read or write in 2 languages.

English and Spanish for me. I have a lot of free time and am planning on taking classes in some other language. Perhaps portugese or italian, since they are so similar to spanish.
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Old 06-15-2004, 01:23 AM
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English and Spanish here too. Plus I love the 15 minute New York Times crosswords. Once way back when when I was doodlebugging (there's that word again) I worked with a fellow from Beruit. In a six month period he taught me Arabic to the point I could read, write and converse. He brought me a number of those small paperback novelas which I would read. Unfortunately that is one of those languages you have to use regularly to maintain, at least it is for me, and as a result I can only remember a few words, numbers and specific grammar rules. This is probably one language I should get back on track with.

And as lietuviai says, it is hard not to confuse grammar rules between the languages. Sometimes now my spoken English is skewed badly because I form my sentences with Spanish syntax! Not usually a problem at work, where most of us suffer the same fate, in public though, well that is another story.
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Old 06-15-2004, 02:20 AM
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Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, German, English and a bit Faroese.

I still wish i was fluent in spanish though..
Japanese would also be cool.

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Old 06-15-2004, 04:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by MikeTangas
....Arabic ....Unfortunately that is one of those languages you have to use regularly to maintain, at least it is for me, and as a result I can only remember a few words, numbers and specific grammar rules. This is probably one language I should get back on track with.

Man it has been a long time for me, so I was gonna practice writing something to you here but this board won't support the scrip. this is all you get لأسلم alslm
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Old 06-15-2004, 11:19 AM
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I once knew a man who was blind in seven languages. Does that count?
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