May’s Chatterbox: The Lowdown on Language Learning

Pimsleur Approach • May 31, 2012 • Language LearningComments (0)

Welcome to the inaugural Chatterbox! Each month we’ll be bringing you all the important language learning news, scientific developments and advice, as well as the blogs we’re reading and a heads up on the best online competitions of the month. Enjoy and feel free to chip in with your suggestions for the Chatterbox!May Chatterbox

The Science of Language

The brilliance of bilingualism took center stage yet again with ground breaking research from Northwestern University. Researchers discovered that bilingualism fine tunes the auditory nervous system, meaning bilingual people can drown out background noise easier and pay better attention than monolinguals.

And that’s not all, as Wired was one of many news outlets to cover new research on bilingualism from the University of Chicago. The study found that thinking in a different language enables us to make more rational, clear-headed decisions. Can’t decide whether to do that bungee-jump? Think it through in another language!

News ‘n’ Views from Around the World

America’s foreign language education system comes in for criticism in the Huffington Post, with international careers expert Stacie Berdan warning that the learning methods in schools must be revamped or America faces being left behind in an increasingly global economy.

It’s a serious risk, if this article from boston.com is anything to go by, with elementary school language classes being dropped all over Boston because of budget reasons.

Whirling away to the other side of the world now, where language policy was also to the fore. Australia’s Tony Abbot promised that if his coalition wins the next election, every preschool child would have to study a foreign language.

But Scotland was not to be outdone, with ministers working to implement a plan where every child will have to study not one, but two foreign languages in a bid to boost the economy.

Advice

Do you relish a challenge or enjoy taking it easy? Literacy News rounds up the languages thought to be the most difficult to learn.

Both the Economist and travel doyen Lonely Planet espouse the virtues of taking the bull by the proverbial horns, being brave, and speaking in your new language. Shout it from the rooftops!

If you want to get to grips with a foreign language you must also learn its culture, says the U.S Air Force. And if you want to truly get to grips with the language, you should learn French before you go, said Expat Focus .

Competitions

There’s only one language related competition worth looking at this month, although we admit we may be a little biased. Take a look at our incredible blog competition here: /blog/language-learning/win-a-cash-prize-by-entering-the-pimsleur-approach-blog-contest

We want to hear about your language learning experiences, your exciting travel adventures or both. In fact, we want to read your brilliant blog entries so much, that there’s a $1,500 cash prize for the winner!

Best Language Blog

Our favorite language blog this month is the hilarious and helpful ‘My Spanish Notes’. It is the brainchild of Rodney, who describes his blog as “a collection of the things I learn from talking with native Spanish speakers- real Spanish I learn from real conversations.” Excellent!

Did You Know?

May is… Mai (French, Norwegian and Romanian), Marz (German), Marzo (Italian), Mayo (Spanish), Mei (Swahili) and Maj (Polish). The word for the month of May in all these languages stems from the Roman Goddess Maia, who was the Goddess of Growth.

We hope your language learning ‘grew’ this month. Tune in next month for the second edition of Chatterbox!

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