Language Learning

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The title of this section is slightly misleading (but only slightly!) I was collecting a variety of my favourite puns for the pun section, then I realised I’m going to need an entire language section to cover all the interesting grammar anomalies, unique characteristics of languages and things that people may not have thought of before.

For example, people these days use google translate or some other translation program, but it’s impossible to accurately translate one language into another for a variety of reasons. Often one language has different rules than another for example, how you pronounce a word in Chinese can change the meaning of a word. In English the meaning doesn’t inherently change because of the way you say a word.

It might be that in some locations around the world certain animals or food or phenomenon only exist in that country alone. No other country would have a need for a word like “koala” or “kangaroo” other than Australia.

If you want a single word to mean a desire to travel to new and unexplored places around the world, well there’s a German word “wanderlust” that you can use for that purpose. This is also one of the reasons that English can be such a confusing language. It has “borrowed” so many words from other languages that it makes it appear that there are more words that do not follow certain rules, than there actually are!

On that note, our brains are designed to absorb and learn new things all the time, this is especially true with languages. There’s a chapter in the book “A Little Book Of Languages” by David Crystal that discusses the effect of languages on babies’ development. It’s interesting to note that babies actually understand a lot more than they can speak. He discusses the difference between an active vocabulary and a passive vocabulary, and informs us that babies can start to hear what the mother says from around about 6 months old, that’s when their hearing and auditory senses in their brain are developed enough to start hearing.

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