Seniors Should Learn Languages
You don't want to sit there and play solitaire. Uh, you can discover new things. Hi there, Steve Kaufmann here again, and today I want to talk about seniors. Seniors not only can learn languages, they should learn languages and I'm going to tell you why. So if you enjoy these videos, please subscribe, click on the bell for notification.
Uh, if you follow me on a podcast, please leave a review. I appreciate it. Please notice that I've changed my background here. I've now got this wood paneling and I've sort of slid my, my bookshelf off to the side. People ask me if it's a real bookshelf. No, it's not. It's just a curtain. I slid it out to the side and now I'm working off this wooden panelling.
So the reason I'm talking about seniors learning languages is because I had an email from a good friend of mine who plays hockey with me. He's one of our group of hockey players that have been playing old timer's hockey since we were, I don't know, over 40, so 30 years, 35 years. He's my age.
He's 76 or 77 or 75 one of the two. And he says, Steve, um, I want to learn Japanese. Can I get on your site? I said, sure, absolutely. Now some background, he has been involved with Japan. He coached hockey in Japan, in Sendai for a year, and he's very fond of Japan and so here he is, 76 years old, he's going to start learning Japanese.
He can say, you know, the usual konnichiwa, ohayo gozaimasu, but he can't really speak Japanese. And I thought to myself, good for him. And here I am 76 and I'm learning my Farsi and my Arabic, both Standard and Egyptian Arabic, and I I've got sort of Turkish waiting in the wings. And if I ever get to a proper level of those, then I might explore Indonesian or I might explore, uh, uh, you know, Urdu is sort of a transition from, from Persian.
Or I might go into Hindi and tackle one of their writing systems. Uh, or some other language, Swahili. I haven't learned an African language. I might tackle an African language. All of that I have in front of me. Uh, next year, the year after, the year after those languages aren't going anywhere. I'm under no pressure to learn those languages.
I don't need them for my job, but it's just so much fun to contemplate that I can go and learn these languages. And, you know, discover like I'm now discovering, especially with the Persian, because I've got these wonderful courses on Persian history that Sahra has, has prepared for, for LingQ, which I enjoy going over repeatedly.
And finally getting a sense of when the Sasanian Dynasty was and when the Safavid Dynasty was and the Mongols and the Turks and the uh, you know, the various, uh, influence of Rome and, and then fighting with the Parthian Empire, I guess they called it an English. Um, and so for this one, so as a senior, you know, here you are, uh, you could be saying, well, you know, I've, I've lived most of my life.
Uh, you know, I'm kind of, uh, I mean, you don't want to sit there and play solitaire. Uh, you can discover new things particularly now with COVID where it's not so easy to go traveling around you can travel through your language learning, uh, as a senior. And, and I don't think, you know, as a senior, certainly I don't sit down and learn this language and that language, but I know that there are a lot of languages there to learn.
And every language I have learned has brought me so much. It's like being at a feast where there's just this endless sort of table with dishes and you can eat as many as you want and just keep eating and enjoying. Of course, we know that for seniors it's very good for their brains. So even if say my friend who hasn't really been a language learner, like I've been a language learner, all his life.
Uh, so maybe it's like the capacity to learn languages is not as developed as it is in my brain because I've been doing it more. But, um, it's like, if you haven't used a muscle, you have to slowly start using it. Small steps, small steps, gradually build up, build up the strength. And I think the same is true with language learning regardless of your age. He might find it a little more difficult because he's not as confident, he hasn't done it before, but I know that anyone, if they, you know, gain that experience with the new language, listening and reading, they can learn.
And of course, especially today with the range of content that's available online. So if we take, for example, he could watch a Japanese series on Netflix and not understand a thing, except that there would be subtitles. And through the subtitles, he would have a sense of participating in an aspect of Japanese culture that is very stimulating.
That encourages you, entices you to do more. Now in order to get to the point where he could understand those movies or even some of them, and which would then improve his Japanese, he has to invest in the sort of beginner stuff like the mini stories. So there is a progression from repetitive listening to relatively simple material to get yourself to a point where you can derive more from these movies, but that's all there for you to.
Those are all activities that as a senior, you can commit one to three hours a day to doing, and it takes you on this sort of endless journey of discovery initially for one language. And that can be a few years I can tell you from experience with Arabic and Persian, and if you ever get tired of that journey, then you can embark on another journey.
So, uh, not only is it, you know, and I've, I've done videos before where I talk about age not being an obstacle, but it's more than that. I think for seniors particularly who are looking for meaningful things to do... Not... and many of them have their meaningful activities. And I'm not saying that language learning is the only meaningful activity.
And of course there there's physical activity and there's social activity and family activity, and there's all kinds of things that can give seniors a very full life, but I think in particular language learning is something that has a lot of benefits. I'm not going to get into whether it delays, you know, potential, you know, Alzheimer's, there's all these theories that it stimulates the brain and protects it from dementia and so on.
I don't know if that's true. Uh, it's an added benefit. Uh, but I think the bigger thing is that it's just such a rewarding thing to do, something that seniors not only can do but should do in my opinion. And, uh, I'll leave you with a couple of videos that I did on the whole issue of age and language learning.
But again, seniors not only can learn, but should learn languages. Thank you for listening. Bye for now.