New method to learn a language

Swiss scientists have apparently discovered an efficient method to learn a foreign language. The method works as follows: first the scientist gave German-speaking students a number of pairs of German words and their Dutch translation, while awake. Then they repeated these pairs while the students were asleep. Those students who heard the pairs in their sleep, were better in remembering the Dutch words than the students in the control group.

This research is of interest for space settlers. In The High Frontier O’Neill already understood the need for space settlers to learn multiple languages as Russian and Japanese (for American colonists) while on their way to L5, in order to improve communication with settlers from other nations.

We have suggested on this site that space settlements should consider a constructed language as official language in order to deal with a multi-ethnic population. Regardless of what option is chosen, space settlers have to learn some other language.

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8 thoughts on “New method to learn a language”

  1. Although spoken languages – and their limitations – will be with us for the foreseeable future, I believe they will eventually be replaced provided humans survive that long. In a way, we already have a common language now – a binary one in our digital world. In the long run, I see telepathic communication with both sentient beings and machines as the next evolutionary step.

    1. I don’t think spoken language will be replaced, rather the developments you mentioned will add to the use of spoken language. The binary language we have today, is merely a method transliterate symbols into digital signals through schemes such as ASCII.

      In regard with human-machine communication, interesting experiments have been undertaken in this field. Scientists have succeeded in letting monkeys moving a robot arm with brain signals, and one professor has implanted a chip to communicate with his wife. For a part this merely another channel to transmit “spoken” language, however I can imagine that non-linguistic thoughts could be more easily transferred in this way. Though we have to address privacy issue here.

  2. I would love to learn a few more languages. Latin is on the list especially for some of the books I read, the authors think Latin should be minimum knowledge and then there is Spanish and French. If I could manage these, then maybe Chinese for soon everyone will be transacting in Chinese 😀

    1. I am working to improve my French, I am also into learning Russian. Am planning to to improve my German (I can read both German and French reasonably, but I would like to be able to use it actively). Further I had Latin at school.

      1. In high school there was the option of taking French classes but I let it go.
        There was no Latin however. I will have to see if I can learn a few of these. Am not sure I have a great aptitude for learning languages though.

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