a) In high school, I took four years of Spanish, mostly focused on reading than speaking, writing or listening as much. That was 35 years ago and not having used it, I don’t remember much consciously, although I can occasionally understand Italian spontaneously – just a little.  I found it a surprising struggle to get through the first part of the Spanish – the Spanish I. While some words came right back to me, others had great roadblocks in front of them, particularly when they looked or sounded similar to  one another.  Also, being half deaf with auditory processing issues as well, listening and speaking comprehension is difficult enough in English, particularly understanding context – so doing so in Spanish is quadrupally difficult. Still, I did get through Spanish I with an A to my surprise. How I will do here I don’t know. I did have one amazing experience in Spanish IV, high school way back in 1990. We were reading Borges in Spanish and from time to time, to my shock, I was able to read it fluently as his Spanish translation was a high school level. I could feel the impressions on my brain, the visualizations and sounds went straight in and I did not need any English as an intermediary.  I did read the same stories in English later on to confirm what I thought I’d read I read, and it held up. But that experience of reading and comprehending instantly remains vivid. Can I achieve that conversationally with inattentive adhd and generalized anxiety (including social)? I don’t know. But I believe it’s possible and I’m hopeful that the experience will expand my brain and make it stronger, making use of the plasticity. I’m hoping I have a moment where I cross over a line and I’m about to produce well. b) Bilingual adults are at a lower risk for dementia. Broadening to a second language can improve a global awareness and a mindset of inclusivity.  c) The “critical period hypothesis” is changed to a “sensitive period” because it’s not impossible to get fluent as an adult, it’s just easier during the sensitive period. After it, you can consciously rewire your brain even if it takes longer, to accomplish the same effect over time.  Becoming native-like might not be so important because how you talk is part of your identity and if you’re understood, that should be the threshold to cross. It takes the pressure off.

a) In high school, I took four years of Spanish, mostly focused on reading than speaking, writing or listening as much. That was 35 years ago and not having used it, I don’t remember much consciously, although I can occasionally understand Italian spontaneously – just a little.

I found it a surprising struggle to get through the first part of the Spanish – the Spanish I. While some words came right back to me, others had great roadblocks in front of them, particularly when they looked or sounded similar to  one another.

Also, being half deaf with auditory processing issues as well, listening and speaking comprehension is difficult enough in English, particularly understanding context – so doing so in Spanish is quadrupally difficult. Still, I did get through Spanish I with an A to my surprise. How I will do here I don’t know.

I did have one amazing experience in Spanish IV, high school way back in 1990. We were reading Borges in Spanish and from time to time, to my shock, I was able to read it fluently as his Spanish translation was a high school level. I could feel the impressions on my brain, the visualizations and sounds went straight in and I did not need any English as an intermediary.

I did read the same stories in English later on to confirm what I thought I’d read I read, and it held up. But that experience of reading and comprehending instantly remains vivid. Can I achieve that conversationally with inattentive adhd and generalized anxiety (including social)? I don’t know. But I believe it’s possible and I’m hopeful that the experience will expand my brain and make it stronger, making use of the plasticity. I’m hoping I have a moment where I cross over a line and I’m about to produce well.

b) Bilingual adults are at a lower risk for dementia. Broadening to a second language can improve a global awareness and a mindset of inclusivity.

c) The “critical period hypothesis” is changed to a “sensitive period” because it’s not impossible to get fluent as an adult, it’s just easier during the sensitive period. After it, you can consciously rewire your brain even if it takes longer, to accomplish the same effect over time.

Becoming native-like might not be so important because how you talk is part of your identity and if you’re understood, that should be the threshold to cross. It takes the pressure off.

[responsivevoice_button voice="US English Male"]

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


5 × = ten

Leave a Reply