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Steve's Language Learning Tips, Language Learning and Old Age

Language Learning and Old Age

Hi there, Steve Kaufmann here again.

Today I want to do a video about language learning and old age. I'm doing this because I received a comment on my YouTube channel from a gentleman in, gee, I think it was Peru, but somewhere in Latin America, who said that he was very encouraged by my videos, that he was interested in learning English and that he was 75 years old. Perhaps, I should also say that I had dinner with a family of recent immigrants from China and their 12-year-old son.

They were very keen that the son should not only speak English very well, but that he should learn other languages. They sort of seemed to feel that they were too old to do it and they were probably in their mid 40s. In my own case, since the age of 55 I've become very interested in learning more and more languages, so let's just look at this issue of language learning and age. First of all, I can say as someone who is going to be 67 in October that I don't feel any older than I did 30 years ago.

I mean yeah, in a way my body. If I go jogging for too long I get stiffer than I did before, but I don't really feel very different. I know that I look different. I looked much younger 30 years ago, even 20 years ago. That's fine, but I'm the same person. We can only live our life in the present, that's the only time we actually live it. We can prepare for things in the future, but we can only really enjoy the moment. Yeah, we can enjoy anticipation, as well.

I guess as you get older you've got less things to anticipate in terms of the number of years in front of you, but in terms of living your day-to-day life I don't feel that it makes much difference. So if I look at the enjoyment I get from learning languages, I mean when I listen to my Russian radio, when I read in Russian and now in Czech, when I'm discovering so much about the lives and the history of people in the Czech Republic or the history of Czechoslovakia or the Austro-Hungarian Empire, when I talk to my Czech tutors through Skype, when I'm able to listen to these daily interviews, , for example, where they're talking to different people, I'm able to follow exactly what they say. In some instances, I listen and read at the same time and, essentially, I know every word there. Sometimes I don't understand it, but the enjoyment is tremendous. When I go to Prague in October, not only will I be able to communicate with people, read the signs, read the newspapers, understand what people are saying, I will have much more knowledge about the history of the country, the history of the city, the different buildings, the national theater, whatever it might be, Charles Bridge, who was Charles the IV, all this kind of stuff.

It is so rewarding and it doesn't matter whether you're 35, 55, 65, 75 or 85. I have a friend who is 83 and he's studying Spanish and he loves doing it. He reads Spanish novels or Latin-American novels. It's interesting the perspective we have on age.

I remember when I was working for a large company here in Vancouver at the age of say 30, whatever I was, mid 30s, we had a vice president, I guess, he was 53 and he used to go kayaking in the ocean and I thought wow, that's amazing for someone 53. Well, I'm 67 almost, 66, I go kayaking in the ocean. I certainly don't think that our brain cells…there is, undoubtedly, some deterioration. I'm no expert on the physiology of the body, but I've been less than a year on Czech and I understand a lot. I'm doing great with my Czech.

I think I've learned it faster than any other language, given the time that I've spent on it. Granted, I had the Russian beforehand. But if you say Russian and Czech, I'm into this Slavic world that was never a part of anything I understood before and now I'm able to be conversant with it, understand it and understand some of the issues. When I finish that I'm going to go back to Korean and bring my Korean up to a decent level. It just gives you so much. It really doesn't matter, every minute that I'm involved with these languages I'm deriving tremendous enjoyment and when I encounter people, again like last night with these Chinese people, to speak in Chinese for the whole evening is a great sense of enjoyment.

Obviously that's a language that I learned 40 years ago, but if I had an opportunity to spend an evening with some Russian people or Czech people then I'd have that sense of enjoyment and achievement. So, to me, it doesn't matter what age you are. Now, because I'm not an expert I can't really get into the subject of how learning foreign languages is good for the brain and staves off Alzheimer's and so forth.

It's possibly true, I don't know, but I'm sure it's good for the brain to continue to challenge the brain. I also am quite convinced from my reading that when the brain is challenged and then is able to cope with the challenge, overcome the obstacles and achieve certain things, the brain has a sense of satisfaction. That has to be healthy. It has to be healthy in the same sense as exercising is healthy and, of course, I also exercise physically. So I guess the point of all this is to say that we often think of language learning as something that kids are better at and, in many ways, in terms of quickly assimilating a new accent and new phraseology the kids seem to have less resistance to change and, therefore, they adapt to the new language more quickly.

But we can all do it. It's not something that should be reserved for kids. It's not something that's reserved for any particular age. There's no reason why people of any age, including older people whatever that means. Is 50 older, 60 older, 70, 80? Whatever the age, I think there is tremendous enjoyment that we can achieve from language learning and it's never too late to start. So thanks to the gentleman in Peru, I think it was Peru, who commented on one of my Spanish videos.

Perhaps I should do the video also in Spanish and send it to him, but good for him at 75. I hope to be with him 10 years from now and he'll, presumably, be on another language when he's 85. So thanks for listening, bye for now.

Language Learning and Old Age Sprachenlernen und Alter Aprendizaje de idiomas y vejez Apprentissage des langues et vieillesse Apprendimento della lingua e vecchiaia 言語学習と老い 언어 학습과 노년기 Nauka języka i starość Aprendizagem de línguas e velhice Изучение языка и пожилой возраст Språkinlärning och ålderdom Dil Öğrenimi ve Yaşlılık Вивчення мови та старість 语言学习和老年 語言學習和老年

Hi there, Steve Kaufmann here again.

Today I want to do a video about language learning and old age. I’m doing this because I received a comment on my YouTube channel from a gentleman in, gee, I think it was Peru, but somewhere in Latin America, who said that he was very encouraged by my videos, that he was interested in learning English and that he was 75 years old. Perhaps, I should also say that I had dinner with a family of recent immigrants from China and their 12-year-old son.

They were very keen that the son should not only speak English very well, but that he should learn other languages. Bardzo zależało im na tym, aby syn nie tylko dobrze mówił po angielsku, ale także uczył się innych języków. Oğullarının sadece çok iyi İngilizce konuşmasını değil, diğer dilleri de öğrenmesini çok istiyorlardı. 他们非常热衷于儿子不仅应该说英语,而且应该学习其他语言。 They sort of seemed to feel that they were too old to do it and they were probably in their mid 40s. Sie schienen das Gefühl zu haben, zu alt zu sein, um es zu tun, und sie waren wahrscheinlich Mitte 40. Wydawało się, że są na to za starzy, a byli prawdopodobnie po czterdziestce. 他们似乎觉得自己太老了,大概 40 多岁的样子。 In my own case, since the age of 55 I’ve become very interested in learning more and more languages, so let’s just look at this issue of language learning and age. In meinem Fall habe ich seit meinem 55. Lebensjahr großes Interesse daran, immer mehr Sprachen zu lernen. W moim przypadku, od 55 roku życia jestem bardzo zainteresowany nauką coraz większej liczby języków, więc spójrzmy tylko na kwestię nauki języków i wieku. First of all, I can say as someone who is going to be 67 in October that I don’t feel any older than I did 30 years ago. Zunächst einmal kann ich als jemand, der im Oktober 67 Jahre alt wird, sagen, dass ich mich nicht älter fühle als vor 30 Jahren. Po pierwsze, jako osoba, która w październiku skończy 67 lat, mogę powiedzieć, że nie czuję się starszy niż 30 lat temu. Öncelikle Ekim ayında 67 yaşına girecek biri olarak söyleyebilirim ki kendimi 30 yıl öncesine göre daha yaşlı hissetmiyorum. 首先,我可以说,作为一个10月就将满67岁的人,我并不觉得自己比30年前老了。 首先,我可以说,作为一个今年 10 月就要 67 岁的人,我并不觉得自己比 30 年前老了多少。

I mean yeah, in a way my body. To znaczy tak, w pewnym sensie moje ciało. If I go jogging for too long I get stiffer than I did before, but I don’t really feel very different. Jeśli biegam zbyt długo, staję się sztywniejszy niż wcześniej, ale tak naprawdę nie czuję się inaczej. Если я долго бегаю трусцой, то становлюсь более жестким, чем раньше, но особых изменений не ощущаю. I know that I look different. Wiem, że wyglądam inaczej. I looked much younger 30 years ago, even 20 years ago. Wyglądałem znacznie młodziej 30 lat temu, a nawet 20 lat temu. That’s fine, but I’m the same person. W porządku, ale jestem tą samą osobą. We can only live our life in the present, that’s the only time we actually live it. Możemy żyć naszym życiem tylko w teraźniejszości, to jedyny czas, kiedy faktycznie je przeżywamy. Hayatımızı yalnızca şimdiki zamanda yaşayabiliriz, onu gerçekten yaşadığımız tek zaman budur. 我们只能活在当下,这是我们真正生活的唯一时间。 We can prepare for things in the future, but we can only really enjoy the moment. Możemy przygotowywać się na przyszłe wydarzenia, ale tak naprawdę możemy cieszyć się tylko chwilą obecną. 我们可以为未来做准备,但我们只能真正享受当下。 Yeah, we can enjoy anticipation, as well. Tak, my też możemy cieszyć się oczekiwaniem. 是的,我们也可以期待。 是的,我们也可以享受期待。

I guess as you get older you’ve got less things to anticipate in terms of the number of years in front of you, but in terms of living your day-to-day life I don’t feel that it makes much difference. Myślę, że wraz z wiekiem masz mniej rzeczy do przewidzenia, jeśli chodzi o liczbę lat przed tobą, ale jeśli chodzi o codzienne życie, nie czuję, żeby to robiło dużą różnicę. 我想随着年龄的增长,就你面前的岁月而言,你可以预见的事情会越来越少,但就你的日常生活而言,我认为这没有多大区别。 我想,随着年龄的增长,在未来的岁月里,你可以预见的事情会越来越少,但在日常生活中,我觉得这并没有什么不同。 So if I look at the enjoyment I get from learning languages, I mean when I listen to my Russian radio, when I read in Russian and now in Czech, when I’m discovering so much about the lives and the history of people in the Czech Republic or the history of Czechoslovakia or the Austro-Hungarian Empire, when I talk to my Czech tutors through Skype, when I’m able to listen to these daily interviews, ________, for example, where they’re talking to different people, I’m able to follow exactly what they say. Jeśli więc spojrzę na przyjemność, jaką czerpię z nauki języków, mam na myśli słuchanie mojego rosyjskiego radia, czytanie po rosyjsku, a teraz po czesku, odkrywanie tak wiele o życiu i historii ludzi w Czechach lub historii Czechosłowacji lub Cesarstwa Austro-Węgierskiego, kiedy rozmawiam z moimi czeskimi nauczycielami przez Skype'a, kiedy jestem w stanie słuchać tych codziennych wywiadów, na przykład, kiedy rozmawiają z różnymi ludźmi, jestem w stanie dokładnie śledzić to, co mówią. 因此,如果我看看我从学习语言中获得的乐趣,我的意思是,当我听俄语广播时,当我用俄语阅读,现在用捷克语阅读时,当我发现很多关于这个国家的人们的生活和历史时。捷克共和国或捷克斯洛伐克或奥匈帝国的历史,当我通过 Skype 与我的捷克导师交谈时,当我能够听到这些日常采访时,例如,他们与不同的人交谈时,我能够准确地遵循他们所说的。 In some instances, I listen and read at the same time and, essentially, I know every word there. W niektórych przypadkach słucham i czytam w tym samym czasie i w zasadzie znam każde słowo. 在某些情况下,我会同时听和读,基本上,我知道那里的每个单词。 Sometimes I don’t understand it, but the enjoyment is tremendous. Czasami tego nie rozumiem, ale przyjemność jest ogromna. When I go to Prague in October, not only will I be able to communicate with people, read the signs, read the newspapers, understand what people are saying, I will have much more knowledge about the history of the country, the history of the city, the different buildings, the national theater, whatever it might be, Charles Bridge, who was Charles the IV, all this kind of stuff. Kiedy pojadę do Pragi w październiku, nie tylko będę w stanie komunikować się z ludźmi, czytać znaki, czytać gazety, rozumieć, co ludzie mówią, ale będę miał o wiele większą wiedzę na temat historii kraju, historii miasta, różnych budynków, teatru narodowego, cokolwiek by to nie było, Mostu Karola, kim był Karol IV, wszystkie tego typu rzeczy. 当我十月份去布拉格时,我不仅能够与人们交流,阅读标志,阅读报纸,了解人们在说什么,我还将对这个国家的历史,这个国家的历史有更多的了解。城市,不同的建筑,国家剧院,无论是什么,查理大桥,查理四世,所有这些东西。

It is so rewarding and it doesn’t matter whether you’re 35, 55, 65, 75 or 85. I have a friend who is 83 and he’s studying Spanish and he loves doing it. Mam przyjaciela, który ma 83 lata, uczy się hiszpańskiego i uwielbia to robić. He reads Spanish novels or Latin-American novels. It’s interesting the perspective we have on age. To interesujące, z jakiej perspektywy patrzymy na wiek. Это интересная точка зрения на возраст. 我们对年龄的看法很有趣。 我们对年龄的看法很有意思。

I remember when I was working for a large company here in Vancouver at the age of say 30, whatever I was, mid 30s, we had a vice president, I guess, he was 53 and he used to go kayaking in the ocean and I thought wow, that’s amazing for someone 53. Ricordo che quando lavoravo per una grande azienda qui a Vancouver, all'età di circa 30 anni, o poco più, avevamo un vicepresidente, credo, di 53 anni, che andava in kayak nell'oceano e ho pensato: "Wow, è incredibile per uno di 53 anni". 我记得当时我在温哥华的一家大公司工作,30 岁左右吧,我们公司有个副总裁,我猜他 53 岁了,他经常去海里划皮艇,我当时就想,哇,53 岁的人还能这样,太了不起了。 Well, I’m 67 almost, 66, I go kayaking in the ocean. I certainly don’t think that our brain cells…there is, undoubtedly, some deterioration. 我当然不认为我们的脑细胞……毫无疑问会出现某种退化。 我当然不认为我们的脑细胞......毫无疑问,有一些退化。 I’m no expert on the physiology of the body, but I’ve been less than a year on Czech and I understand a lot. 我不是人体生理学专家,但我在捷克的时间还不到一年,我明白了很多。 I’m doing great with my Czech. 我的捷克语学得很好。

I think I’ve learned it faster than any other language, given the time that I’ve spent on it. Myślę, że nauczyłem się go szybciej niż jakiegokolwiek innego języka, biorąc pod uwagę czas, który mu poświęciłem. Sanırım harcadığım zaman göz önüne alındığında, diğer tüm dillerden daha hızlı öğrendim. 我认为,从我花在这门语言上的时间来看,我学得比其他任何语言都快。 Granted, I had the Russian beforehand. Zugegeben, ich hatte den Russen schon vorher. مسلماً من روسی را قبلاً داشتم. Zgoda, miałem wcześniej Rosjanina. É verdade que já tinha o russo antes. Согласен, у меня был русский заранее. Kabul ediyorum, Rus'u önceden almıştım. 当然,我事先有俄语。 当然,我事先已经拿到了俄文本。 But if you say Russian and Czech, I’m into this Slavic world that was never a part of anything I understood before and now I’m able to be conversant with it, understand it and understand some of the issues. Ale jeśli mówisz o rosyjskim i czeskim, to jestem w tym słowiańskim świecie, który nigdy wcześniej nie był częścią niczego, co rozumiałem, a teraz jestem w stanie z nim rozmawiać, rozumieć go i rozumieć niektóre kwestie. Ama Rusça ve Çekçe derseniz, daha önce hiç anlamadığım bu Slav dünyasına girdim ve şimdi onlarla konuşabiliyorum, anlayabiliyorum ve bazı sorunları anlayabiliyorum. 但是,如果您说俄语和捷克语,那我就进入了这个斯拉夫世界,这从来都不是我以前了解的任何事物的一部分,现在我能够精通它,了解它并了解一些问题。 但如果你说俄语和捷克语,我就进入了这个斯拉夫世界,而我以前从未了解过这个世界,现在我能够熟悉它、了解它,并理解其中的一些问题。 When I finish that I’m going to go back to Korean and bring my Korean up to a decent level. It just gives you so much. Daje ci tak wiele. Это просто дает тебе так много. It really doesn’t matter, every minute that I’m involved with these languages I’m deriving tremendous enjoyment and when I encounter people, again like last night with these Chinese people, to speak in Chinese for the whole evening is a great sense of enjoyment. To naprawdę nie ma znaczenia, każda minuta, w której jestem zaangażowany w te języki, sprawia mi ogromną przyjemność, a kiedy spotykam ludzi, tak jak wczoraj wieczorem z tymi Chińczykami, mówienie po chińsku przez cały wieczór jest wielkim poczuciem przyjemności.

Obviously that’s a language that I learned 40 years ago, but if I had an opportunity to spend an evening with some Russian people or Czech people then I’d have that sense of enjoyment and achievement. Oczywiście jest to język, którego nauczyłem się 40 lat temu, ale gdybym miał okazję spędzić wieczór z Rosjanami lub Czechami, miałbym poczucie radości i osiągnięcia. So, to me, it doesn’t matter what age you are. Więc dla mnie nie ma znaczenia, w jakim jesteś wieku. Поэтому для меня не имеет значения, какого вы возраста. Now, because I’m not an expert I can’t really get into the subject of how learning foreign languages is good for the brain and staves off Alzheimer’s and so forth. Da ich kein Experte bin, kann ich mich nicht wirklich mit dem Thema befassen, wie gut das Erlernen von Fremdsprachen für das Gehirn ist und Alzheimer und so weiter abwehrt. Omdat ik geen expert ben, kan ik niet echt ingaan op het onderwerp hoe het leren van vreemde talen goed is voor de hersenen en de ziekte van Alzheimer voorkomt, enzovoort. Teraz, ponieważ nie jestem ekspertem, nie mogę zagłębiać się w temat tego, jak nauka języków obcych jest dobra dla mózgu i zapobiega chorobie Alzheimera i tak dalej. 现在,因为我不是专家,所以我无法真正地学习学习外语对大脑有什么好处,并且可以避免阿尔茨海默氏症等问题。 现在,因为我不是专家,所以我无法深入探讨学习外语对大脑有什么好处,可以避免老年痴呆症等等。

It’s possibly true, I don’t know, but I’m sure it’s good for the brain to continue to challenge the brain. Możliwe, że to prawda, nie wiem, ale jestem pewien, że dalsze stawianie wyzwań jest dobre dla mózgu. I also am quite convinced from my reading that when the brain is challenged and then is able to cope with the challenge, overcome the obstacles and achieve certain things, the brain has a sense of satisfaction. Jestem również przekonany na podstawie moich lektur, że kiedy mózg staje przed wyzwaniem, a następnie jest w stanie poradzić sobie z wyzwaniem, pokonać przeszkody i osiągnąć pewne rzeczy, mózg ma poczucie satysfakcji. Ayrıca okuduklarımdan, beyne meydan okunduğunda ve daha sonra meydan okumayla başa çıkabildiğinde, engellerin üstesinden geldiğinde ve belirli şeyleri başardığında, beynin bir tatmin duygusuna sahip olduğuna oldukça ikna oldum. That has to be healthy. این باید سالم باشد. To musi być zdrowe. 那一定是健康的。 It has to be healthy in the same sense as exercising is healthy and, of course, I also exercise physically. To musi być zdrowe w tym samym sensie, w jakim zdrowe są ćwiczenia, a ja oczywiście ćwiczę również fizycznie. So I guess the point of all this is to say that we often think of language learning as something that kids are better at and, in many ways, in terms of quickly assimilating a new accent and new phraseology the kids seem to have less resistance to change and, therefore, they adapt to the new language more quickly. Sanırım tüm bunların amacı, dil öğrenmeyi genellikle çocukların daha iyi olduğu bir şey olarak düşündüğümüzü ve birçok yönden, yeni bir aksanı ve yeni bir ifadeyi hızlı bir şekilde özümseme açısından çocukların değişime karşı daha az direnç gösterdiğini ve bu nedenle yeni dile daha hızlı adapte olduklarını söylemektir.

But we can all do it. Ale wszyscy możemy to zrobić. It’s not something that should be reserved for kids. 这不是应该保留给孩子的东西。 这不是孩子们的专利。 It’s not something that’s reserved for any particular age. Nie jest to coś zarezerwowanego dla konkretnego wieku. Bu, belirli bir yaş için ayrılmış bir şey değildir. There’s no reason why people of any age, including older people whatever that means. 没有任何理由说明任何年龄的人,包括老年人。 Is 50 older, 60 older, 70, 80? Whatever the age, I think there is tremendous enjoyment that we can achieve from language learning and it’s never too late to start. Niezależnie od wieku, uważam, że nauka języków obcych może sprawić nam ogromną przyjemność i nigdy nie jest za późno, by zacząć. 我认为,无论年龄大小,我们都可以从语言学习中获得极大的乐趣,而且任何时候开始都为时不晚。 So thanks to the gentleman in Peru, I think it was Peru, who commented on one of my Spanish videos. Dziękuję więc panu z Peru, myślę, że to było Peru, który skomentował jeden z moich hiszpańskich filmów. 因此,要感谢秘鲁(我想是秘鲁)的那位先生,他对我的一个西班牙语视频发表了评论。

Perhaps I should do the video also in Spanish and send it to him, but good for him at 75. Być może powinienem zrobić wideo również po hiszpańsku i wysłać mu je, ale dobrze dla niego w wieku 75 lat. I hope to be with him 10 years from now and he’ll, presumably, be on another language when he’s 85. Mam nadzieję, że będę z nim za 10 lat, a on, prawdopodobnie, będzie na innym języku, gdy będzie miał 85 lat. 我希望从现在起与他在一起10年,大概他在85岁的时候会使用另一种语言。 So thanks for listening, bye for now.