Language

Language

I have always found language learning to be challenging and also very frustrating. I took 4 years of Spanish in High School and 2 years in College and can barely remember anything I learned during that time. I have been convinced that the methods used to teach language learning in American classrooms are terrible and that other methods can be far more successful than the classroom environment. I spent a summer in Mexico and got myself to a point where I could understand a lot of Spanish, but speaking it was entirely different and very difficult for me. I can read Spanish better than I can listen to it or speak it, but that provides limited benefit when trying to interact with somebody.

I was recently reading about some of the cognitive benefits of being bilingual in this Science News Article. The article spends a lot of time mentioning the benefits for children who learn two languages early in life, but also mentioned adults benefitting from being bilingual. These benefits include quicker thinking and problem solving skills. In addition to cognitive benefits for the bilingual individual, language helps shape our world view. Stanford University and MIT have been researching how a persons language impacts how they view the world and how they perceive or not perceive various aspects of their surroundings. The movie Arrival takes this concept to the extreme with an alien species teaching a human a language that causes her to perceive time itself differently where she no longer lives her life linearly. I don’t believe language can impact our perception of reality to this extreme, but I believe it helps shape how we view the world. I have a minor in Cross Cultural Studies so I have always been interested in how different people view the world. This is also the lens I use to look at politics and I always find it interesting that people can view the same events and the same set of facts and come to completely different conlusions. An individuals world view has a profound impact on their life. Learning another language, in theory, would allow me to see the world differently, to think about it differently and to understand things differently. My theory has been that bilingual speakers have an advantage in being able to see the world from a unique perspective because of how language shapes their world view. At 39 years old I have felt that I have missed the window to learn a new language and become a bilingual individual. Fortunately research shows I am not too old to learn a new language, but it may be more difficult than if I had tried when I was younger. If I put the time into it, I should be able to achieve one of my life goals of being bilingual.

As I pondered how I would go about learning Spanish again I had a thought, “Why should I learn Spanish?” My initial thought was that it should be easier due to my education and background. Then I thought “I don’t want easy.” I want a challenge. I want to do something that I am not sure is possible for me to do. I decided to see what languages are the most commonly spoken around the world. I learned that the top 3 languages are Chinese, Spanish and then English. Chinese is spoken by 1.2 billion people and China is making significant strides in business and technology. My interest in cryptocurrency and what Tron (TRX) is doing also has sparked an interest in China and how internet decentralization could be good for people living in China and the rest of the world. This is when I decided to look into learning Chinese. I found an app for my phone (Hello Chinese) that makes bold claims that in 10 minutes a day I could be fluent in Chinese in 3 months. While I don’t believe that claim, I found there are many tools to help someone who is a beginner start learning Chinese. Duolingo is another app that I will be using to try and learn some of the basics. So, I downloaded the app and started down the path of learning Chinese. Additional interest in Chinese stems from having friends who will be adopting from China in the coming months and a co-worker from China who can correct any improper pronunciation I may have along the way, which I am certain will be an issue for me. If 10 minutes a day gets me to where I would be at a 5 year olds level of communication I would consider that a huge success.

Now, this is where I also had another thought. “Why stop at being bilingual? Why not trilingual?” That would certinaly be more difficult than only knowing two languages and if I were to be able to communicate in English, Spanish and Chinese then I would have the three most widely used languages on the planet covered. That would be an impressive accomplishment. So, I am also going to be practicing more Spanish while focusing on Chinese. I am also looking for apps that connect people interested in language learning for live discussion and practice (HelloTalk and WeSpeke are two I have located so far). I recognize that without actually speaking my learning will be inhibited so I will need to find ways to practice speaking.

It is currently May 9, 2018 and my goal is to have basic fluency in both Chinese and Spanish by May 2020. I am hopeful that the concept of 10 minutes a day is actually enough for this old brain of mine to learn a new language. I am also hopeful that I will be able to achieve this goal well before the two year window I am giving myself. I figure the worst that will happen is that I will still only speak English by this time in 2020.

Prayer for Wyatt

Prayer for Wyatt

Pray for WyattLord, do you hear our cries? Do you see this little boy that desperately needs healing that only you can do? I come to you pleading for Wyatt. Heal him. Reveal your mighty and powerful hand. Do what is impossible for us. Work a Miracle for Wyatt and restore him. I can’t fathom the heartache that Brad & Abby are facing. Be their comfort. Please Lord hear the prayers of thousands of people around the world seeking healing for Wyatt. Jesus said those who would believe in Him would do the same works and even greater works than what He has done. Let the whole world see that you are still a God who heals. A God who cares for His people. A God who performs Miracles.

I know from your words to Job that we can’t begin to comprehend why you allow things to happen. We as your children are struggling to comprehend why this has happened. So, I plead that you would work a miracle in healing Wyatt. Astound the world. You are the God who has created all things. You are sovereign over all. You give us life and take it away. Today we ask that you restore a young boy for your Glory.

Updates on Wyatt from Shift Church: http://shift-church.com/wyattupdate

Verified on Po.et

April 3rd 2018, 07:24

Reboot

Reboot

It is time to start writing on this blog again. This blog has become terribly stale since I haven’t posted anything since 2009. Wow! It sure has been a while.

So, to catch the random lurker up to speed, here is what you have missed.

My family has grown. Jack is 2 1/2 years old and Henry was born on Dec. 30th, 2010, so he is just about 5 months old. Jack and Henry are amazing kids, and I love them more than I can even begin to share.

I have also started a New testament reading plan. It is a one year plan, so the amount of reading each day is minimal. But, I am looking forward to thinking about a shorter piece of scripture each day. And this is one of the reasons I am starting this blog back up again, to to share my thoughts as I read through the New Testament. I found that blogging through the Old Testament really helped me process what I was reading.

Last July I also started running and am still running today. I have done a number of 5K’s, and finished a half-marathon on April 6th, 2011. Running has truly changed my life. I am healthier than I have been in a long time, and I have an activity that I truly love. I am also hoping to run a full marathon by the end of this year or early next year.

Jeff & Jacks Playlist

Jack and I came up with a playlist of songs that we both enjoy. I added them into lala.com and here they are.

Maybe you will enjoy them as much as we do. 🙂

Jaime @ 35 Weeks

Jaime @ 35 Weeks

This past Sunday Jaime and I went to Centennial Park to celebrate Jack doing well at 35 weeks! Jaime also wanted some pregnancy pictures, so we brought our camera and here are some of the shots.

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PS: If you click on the pictures you can see a larger version.

Jack Bristow at 31 Weeks

Today we had a 3D Ultrasound and here is a video that we put together with some of the video clips and still pictures we received. It is amazing that we can see little Jack before he is born!