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A Language a Day Keeps Dementia Away June 30, 2008

Posted by Fantastic Four in Language, Language Study.

YES! It is happening! In August I am going back to school to continue undergrad studies. I will be continuing with Russian and German languages. Spanish will be the brand new one this coming term and will have the duty of keeping me on my toes, as a beginner all over again. And I am so very excited about it, I feel like I should start studying right this second!

Over the years, I have been exposed to many languages. I usually pick up the grammar and vocabulary with the speed of lightning and can converse within half a year. When I say converse it is general daily chatter, not discussions over mechanical engineering.

I have studied German at high school for 3 years; learned Norwegian when I was living in Norway as an AIESEC student exchange; and I have taught myself Korean alphabet and how to read words during a 2-week trip to Korea. Some 15 years ago I used to be able to conjugate almost any verb in Italian.

The problem is, I never seriously pursued these languages with a view to add them to my translation portfolio, in the professional sense. This was the case until I enrolled at Macquarie University. You would think the rest is history. Well, yes and no. Russian was easy to pick, but there are so many languages available at Macquarie I didn’t know which way to go. German seemed the right choice as I had some schooling on it in the past.

I thought maybe Chinese or Japanese, or even Korean. Naturally, this will have to wait till I have completed my European Languages degree and actively started translating from Russian into English and Turkish.

I find that learning a language is just the right exercise for my forever inquisitive and challenge-loving mind. It keeps me thinking, asking, practicing. Then of course the fun of watching international films with the English subtitles, what a great and entertaining way of practicing! In every way languages have proved to be a passion for me and I am hoping in the distant future they will help keep dementia away, keeping my mind sharp and alert.

Next post: Few thoughts on Latin. Still beautiful even though it has been dead for centuries.



1. Nick - July 4, 2008

I envy you having such a natural flair for learning languages. I know quite a lot of Italian but that’s about it. I think all schools should be bilingual and pupils should only be able to use a second language. Research shows that people who can speak at least two languages are consistently more intelligent than monoglots.

2. Gayé Terzioglu - July 4, 2008

I don’t know about the research results, I know so many intelligent, sharp, smart people who speak only the language they need to speak.
Oh, Italian! Did you learn at school or self-study? I love the sound of Italian but man oh man they speak it so fast in Italy I had a hard time following even general chatter (I tried to teach myself Italian from books at one time).
Thanks for stopping by 🙂

3. Baino - July 4, 2008

Gaye you must have a natural flair, I guess speaking Turkish and English as a child started the love affair for you. I’ve only ever spoken one language but would love to learn another if only I wasn’t so lazy.

Aww Nick! Now I’m a monoglot! There’s a name for it! *sob* and I’ve only just recovered from the devastation of my moustache discovery. *digs hole and hides*

4. Gayé Terzioglu - July 4, 2008

If I were you I wouldn’t call myself lazy.
1) Are you really interested in learning a language? – I believe the answer to that one is a well, no.
2) Do you really need to learn another language? – I assume that’s a no as well.
My parents never had to learn English because they didn’t need to use it at home, at work, etc. They met Niall and my father suddenly understands and can say more. And my mum is in the process of learning English attending a course. I guess now they feel the would like to speak with and understand Niall, they feel the need and desire to learn it and practice it.
All you need is for Clare to bring you a potential son-in-law from Norway or Denmark or something. 🙂
And HEY! Nothing wrong with having a bit of hair here and there. Gx

5. Nick - July 5, 2008

I’ve done quite a lot of evening classes in London and Belfast so as I say I know the language pretty well but I’m nowhere near fluent. I’d have to live in Italy for a while to achieve that. You’re right, a lot of Italians speak so fast it’s hard to understand them!

6. Absolute Vanilla (& Atyllah) - July 7, 2008

You are so lucky to have what is obviously a natural flair for languages!
And I think you’re right, when the will and true need to learn a language is there then learning becomes that much easier – but then isn’t that just like everything else in life! 🙂
Good luck with the studies. My money’s on the importance of learning Chinese!

7. Gayé Terzioglu - July 7, 2008

Vanilla Baby! Are you back? Thanks for stopping by. 🙂
Hmm I will have to give some thought to Chinese and prioritise. To tell you the truth I am not that fond of German but I have invested time in it. Will see.

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