Do Your Emotions Affect Your Success in Learning a New Language?
Europe was still in the Dark Ages.
Hi, Steve Kaufmann here again, and today I wanna talk about what I call
the magic of language learning, the emotional side of language learning.
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So, you know, in my previous video I talked about how important
it was to reward ourselves.
For every little thing you do, every time you are able to do something
in the language, reward yourself.
But there's another aspect to rewarding yourself, and that is to
indulge in those things that make the language interesting to you.
And even if you are not doing these things in the target language, if you
are cultivating that interest, if you are cultivating the magic, you are
going to motivate yourself to learn the language, and I wanna talk about
some examples from my own experience.
So first of all, when I started learning French, I had a professor
who made French culture French civilization, very interesting to me.
As a result, I started watching French movies.
Prior to that, I wasn't interested in French, even though we had it
at school and so I couldn't speak.
And then when I followed my interests In French movies, French...
everything to do with France, and eventually ended up going
to France, that spurred me on.
The same with Chinese.
I got very interested in basically the modern history of China, the twenties
and thirties as China struggled, sort of coming into contact with Western
civilization, Western imperialists.
Uh, a very proud and, and old culture having to face certain new realities.
That whole romance of that period motivated me to learn, uh, Chinese and
I can go on and on with other examples.
Russian, when I watched ... a movie, a Russian movie from the 19th century.
Uh, it conjures up this romantic image may not be an accurate
reflection of what Russia is or was, but it's part of what motivated me.
It becomes the, the sort of magic, the emotions, because
emotions are very important.
We know from cognitive science research that when we learn something, if the
brain sees things that are new and meaningful to the brain, the brain is
more likely to remember those things.
And so that emotional side, that emotional connection is important.
I find that if I listen to something in the target language and I enjoy,
I like the voice, I enjoy the subject matter I'm more likely to remember,
I'm more, more likely to learn from it.
Another example is my current experience with, uh, Persian,
Turkish, Arabic, that, you know, central Asia, middle Eastern world.
So in addition to what I do on LingQ where I study and I explore some
of the great content that we have, for example, in Turkish and in, in
Persian, that Sahra has prepared for me on Iranian history and so forth.
I also indulge my interest by reading in English.
Uh, so I wanted to show you some examples.
So here's a book for example about Selim, who was one of the great emperors of
the Ottoman Empire and how he, you know, killed his brothers and fought to gain the
throne and what he did with the throne.
I just started into the book and it is fascinating, uh, and it conjures
up that Turkish world, the Turkey connecting with the Safavid, the Shiite,
uh, forces in, uh, next door, Iran.
All of that is part of that Turkish/Iranian world.
And as I get into that, of course I get into the whole
magic again of Central Asia.
Central Asia a thousand years ago was a major center of world learning.
We sometimes forget that, uh, at a time when, uh, Europe was still in the Dark
Ages, there were scientists in Central Asia who were measuring the stars
and, you know, the orbits of, of , you know, planets and this kind of thing.
Uh, and their language was Persian.
In fact, here's another book.
I, I, I tend to go buy books because I, I want to indulge my interest
because that then motivates me to work harder on my Persian, my Turkish,
my Arabic, um, The Persianate World.
Um, one that I started into, by the way, is The Lost Enlightenment, which
again, deals with very specifically this Central Asia Bohara, uh, Samarkand
center of learning for quite a few hundred years, which contributed to
the modern world as we now know it.
All of that is a bit of a digression and a distraction, but I don't
begrudge myself the time that I spend reading in English about all of these
things because it motivates me in my learning of these languages and
my discovery, uh, of these cultures.
Because inevitably when we learn the language, we discover culture.
We discover new areas that previously were perhaps a collection of
stereotypes come alive for us.
So I suggest you do indulge your interests, whatever they may be.
It might be Anime in the case of Japanese, or K-Pop in the case of
Korean, whatever those interests are.
Or if you wanna watch a movie with, you know, subtitles in your own language,
even if you don't understand much.
This was the case when I started into Russian.
It's, um, it's, it may not do that much for your language learning, but it is
stimulating, it triggers that interest and that's so important in language learning.
And I did do, uh, a couple of videos one 13 years ago, one nine
years ago on the importance of our emotions in language learning.
So I suggest you have a look at those as well.
Thank you for listening.
Bye for now.