I’m (Enter Number Here) – Lingual

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to learn a new language or ever were fond of someone who was able to switch from one to another? A study conducted by the University of Delaware explored how our hemispheres play a role in language processing. It’s common to know how the left hemisphere plays a role, however, in the study it was found that identifying basic sounds and processing acoustic details of sounds is a key element of the right hemisphere. In the study, participants were exposed to pairs of sounds that were similar but had different consonants. Based on fMRI’s that were conducted it showed that the right hemisphere was most active in early sound-recognition. 

So how do we process language? Well, first let’s define language. Language can be described as a set of symbols that allow for communication and comprehension. How you’re able to read this text is based on your past knowledge of words and their meanings. All these words are stored in your own mental dictionary also known as your semantic memory, which is a form of long term memory that allows you to recall words when needed. Along with our semantic memory we also use grammar rules to arrange certain words in positions that make sense, otherwise, we would say sentences that don’t make any sense. 

To learn a new language sounds must be processed in our auditory perceptions and then we must create representations that stem from our semantic memory. The article mentions that the goal of learning a new language with a greater success rate in a certain period of time will be based on if someone is able to practice sound recognition in the early process of learning a new language. 

The process of understanding is beyond complicated. However, research indicated that adults are able to train themselves to become more sensitive to foreign speech sounds using techniques and learning the phonological elements of words. 

 Have you ever been interested in learning a new language, do you think you are able to train yourself to learn it? If so, comment below what language interests you!


Resources used


Robinson-Riegler, G., & Robinson-Riegler, B. (2008). Cognitive psychology: Applying the science of the mind. Boston: Pearson/Allyn and Bacon.


4 thoughts on “I’m (Enter Number Here) – Lingual

  1. autumnphipps

    This is really great! I am actually hoping to become multi-lingual. I am currently learning Chinese here at UMW and once I get to the 300 level, I am going to start learning Japanese as well. I wonder what languages other people in the class are taking. I honestly cannot wait to know more languages, it really is just very fun for me to learn them and their cultures!

  2. chadvelezis

    I have always viewed learning secondary languages as a daunting and impossible task for me. I suppose that my low confidence and unreliable memory makes it difficult for me to convince myself that the language will stick with me beyond the period in which I learn it. I experienced this with the four semesters of ASL that I took to satisfy gen ed requirements at UMW. No more than a few months after finishing Intermediate ASL, my lack of practice or exposure to deaf culture and sign has lead to a noticeable decline in my semantic knowledge of the language, it’s unique grammar structure, and so on. Reading your post also makes me wonder if it is harder to learn a language like ASL, that lacks a verbal or written component. That leads to an even deeper question; should ASL even be considered a language as defined by psychology?

    1. Mala Post author

      I think you should definitely try to expose yourself to more experience, I think knowing a another language is a great tool and resource to have. You never know when you will encounter a situation where you will think back and realize that knowing another language could have come in handy!

  3. dnewman

    I’ve always thought knowing Spanish would be useful skill. A lot of people have some sort of understanding of Spanish, and I do too, but I’m not fluent. Being bi-lingual is a very sought out characteristic in many job fields. Personally, I would love to be fluent in Spanish, but ASL is much more intriguing. I’m not sure how this blog relates to language with no actual speech, but it’d be interesting to learn.

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