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Relevant Experience of My Own Regarding the Neurobiology Papers

jpfeiffer's picture

One of the papers that struck me most was the second paper about Learning Languages and the ways in which one learns and reciprocates a language. For me, throughout my life the acquisition of new languages has always been very difficult. I struggled in middle school with Spanish and although I did well in Spanish in college overall and have completed my language requirement, I admit that for the amount of time I spent studying Spanish I probably should have been better. The same is true for Latin which, despite how many hours of studying I put fourth I was never quite successful in this discipline. This article also had me thinking about the ways in which I was instructed in these languages. Latin class was time spent only memorizing grammatical information. Day after day we had to recite countless cases and make sure that when writing sentences our grammar was spot-on. Reading and comprehending Latin on the other hand was something that occurred very naturally to me. For example, I could read a story and translate it with ease. Likewise, I could comprehend much of what the professor was saying. In college, when I made the transition to learning Spanish I originally had many of the same difficulties with grammar and such, however, I could read sentences and phrases and understand them. Likewise, as I continued with an upper level Spanish class I found that while I had the greatest difficulty and therefore performed the worst with grammar, I could always translate and comprehend the language much easier. For example, although I may not have known how to conjugate a particular verb, I would know which verb to use.

This personal experience seemed to parallel that of what I read in this paper. I seemed to have the greatest amount of success with the Natural Approach idea, as the author did when learning English.