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Psychological effects of studying language

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I am a native English speaker. I started learning Hebrew in 5th grade, Spanish in 7th, Latin and Attic Greek in 10th, and Arabic this year(11th grade). I've noticed two interesting consequences: One, I have started slipping into the other languages without noticing(not a major problem at school, where everyone speaks Hebrew and most speak Spanish, but quite a problem elsewhere), I think partly because some things are expressed better in other languages. The second, and personally (interestingly enough, the first time I wrote that I said personalmente) more interesting, effect is that my thought is often mixed and sometimes completely in foreign language. During times of extensive introspection (such as when I was examining myself after my girlfriend broke up with me and when I was considering dropping out of school), I switch completely into Hebrew. After an internal evaluation of the facts of a given situation, I often ask myself ?אז, מה תעשה עכשיו (which means: So, what will you do now?) Has anyone else experienced a similar effect? What does it mean?

[Edit below]

A quick clarification, this doesn't only apply to the languages that I've been studying for a long time... When listing things, I often say X و Y و Z (pronounced "wa" means and in Arabic)

Edited by Cogito
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After an internal evaluation of the facts of a given situation, I often ask myself ?אז, מה תעשה עכשיו (which means: So, what will you do now?) Has anyone else experienced a similar effect? What does it mean?

I'm a native Hebrew speaker, and even though I think in Hebrew, I often use English for more precision. Hebrew has a pretty poor vocabulary, with not a lot of resolution for words. For example: Guardian, shield, protector, defender are all just one word in Hebrew. :ninja:

Often some words in English simply have no translation for Hebrew, so a person might spend half a minute explaining what they are trying to say instead of just using a single word in English.

Hebrew is annoying, and not useful for people who require accuracy in conversations.

However, I do like the intonation of it. "So what will you do now" sounds a lot stronger, dramatic, clear in Hebrew than in English. Hebrew is sharper, English is "rounder". So I can understand why you would rather think of that question in Hebrew.

I often switch to English automatically (in my thoughts) when I am surprised or very amused.

A year ago I stayed a month and a half in California. I barley talked to anyone at home when I was there, and when I came back, it was very difficult to talk in Hebrew. That was the strangest thing... a language I have been using my entire life, suddenly felt erased from my mind. I even had a slight American accent. Brain adaptation gets deeper as time goes by.

The subject of language representation in the brain has been studied. Check this out.

And just one question: why, or how come, you know so many languages?

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My mother tongue is German. But I can talk and think in English quite well, too. The funny thing I realize sometimes is that I can express some things in English that I can't say in German. The most obvious such things are puns, which is the only stuff that comes to mind right now as I try to think of a good example. :ninja:

Edit: got one!

For example there's no word for "mind" in German. All I could say is "spirit, imagination, ghost, thinking, thought, imagination, ...", but there's no word with the meaning of the word mind. Another thing is that in German there's only one word for both happiness and luck (go figure what the consequences are). Language is a tool one uses to think better. This tool, however, can also ruin your thinking if you don't understand that it is one. Or as Maslow put it: "If all you have [and know] is a hammer, every problem is a nail."

Edited by Felix
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Why, or how come, you know so many languages?

If you meant "what for", I love the study of language, mainly because it allows me to be able to fully express myself... So far I have yet to find a language that is perfect in every area. In addition, I study Hebrew, Arabic, and Spanish (and hopefully eventually French) for use (I have friends who natively speak Hebrew and a brother who will almost certainly make Aliyah, I would simply love to be able to understand exactly what it is Bin Laden is threatening us with this time, and as all of you who live in the US of A know, Spanish is quickly becoming a necessity), and I study Latin and Attic Greek so I can read some of the classics (Aristotle?) in the original.

If you meant "how did this come about", my school requires courses in Hebrew and offers courses in Spanish, Latin, and Arabic. My favorite science teacher runs the Attic Greek club at our school, and is thinking of making it into a real class.

[Edit below]

I'm so used to being surrounded by Jews, I forget not everyone understands their terminology :dough: ... "To make Aliyah" means to emigrate to Israel.

Edited by Cogito
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