Posted By P & L Blog

Longleat Maze


Many people study a foreign language for a couple of years in high school and then have no further exposure to it.  I've heard people say that they don't remember anything beyond "hello", "how are you?", and the numbers from 1 to 10. They may be surprised to learn that some of that long forgotten language may be lingering in their memory.

Psychologists at the University of Bristol tested native English-speaking volunteers who had learned Zulu or Hindi when they were young.  They were given a vocabulary test to determine if they remembered any of the forgotten language.  Science Daily reports that:

even though the volunteers showed no memory of the second language in the vocabulary test, they were able to quickly relearn and correctly identify phonemes that were spoken in the neglected language.

These findings...suggest that exposing young children to foreign languages, even if they do not continue to speak them, can have a lasting impact on speech perception.

If you have thought about studying the language you took in high school again, it may be easier than you think if, as this study indicates, traces remain in your brain.





Photo by Jon Candy. Licensed by Creative Commons.

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