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#26 august

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Posted 30 March 2012 - 12:57 PM

I doubt it SD. Kurrent is much more probable.

Jack


Jack,

I have been told by people that know you that you speak fluent German. Would you be able to put me in touch with someone who could translate this document for me?

August




#27 bob lembke

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Posted 30 March 2012 - 01:57 PM

I did not learn to read (or even speak) German when I was young, although some was spoken at home, as my
mother and I were almost put in a camp in the US in 1943 by Naval Intelligence. (My father, who worked for
the US Navy in 1943, said that the term "naval intelligence" was an oxymoron.) Thereafter, my mother was
scared to death for fear that I would learn German and be indentified as a German-American, and saw to it
that I did not learn to speak or read German.

When I was 60 I found my father's and grand-father's letters from the front, and I taught myself to read
German and the old handwriting systems, which are more difficult than Fractur. (I find reading modern German
printing very odd.) I have since done some translations for a leading German postcard and documents dealer, not
only from Suetterlin in German, but also from Czech (with my wife's help) and from Slovene Suetterlin.

A year agto I started translating some Flemish.

English is a Germanic language. It is quite possible to learn to read it.

My wife and I speak a bit of German often. When she is in a playful mood, she slowly segueys into Danish, into
Danish vocabilary and grammar (my German grammar is very bad, never having had classes), but continuing to pronounce
the Danish in German, and I think that my brain has pooped out, as I suddenly can't understand her "German". The vixen!

A few years ago I had dinner in Dubrovnik with a German (self-described) brain scientist, and he said that there
is nothing as healthy for your brain as you age than learning a new language. I had my last language class in May 1955,
French, and I estimate that I have worked with 11 languages in my WW I studies over the last 12 years.

Take a shot at this.

Bob

#28 bob lembke

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Posted 30 March 2012 - 02:26 PM

Jack,

I have been told by people that know you that you speak fluent German. Would you be able to put me in touch with someone who could translate this document for me?

August


August;

With all due respect, and even affection, that is a book, not a document. I probably read and translate German, French, and Flemish an
average of three hours a day, and it might take me a month to do it.

I once was active on another military history forum, and I was PMed by a Moderator, who cited two books totalling 500 pages, and asked me
to translate them for him, "as he wanted to learn about the German side" of a particular battle. By coincidence, I had just read one of
the books, with little translation, but a bit of note-taking, and it had taken me weeks. I discussed the question with a professional
translator, and he estimated that he would bill for $67,000 for that job, if my memory serves our conversation. One other weird incident
on that forum, and I was "out of there", as is said.

I think that von Francois was a bit of an "odd duck", and might have managed to lose the defense of East Prussia in 1914, and supposedly
pushed the CO in the East into a mental breakdown by nutty behavior in that campaign. (That was what I was hinting at.)

Why not take a run at it?

Bob

#29 bob lembke

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Posted 01 April 2012 - 12:56 PM

I just saw an interesting short article in the NY Times, relating to my comments above. The article butresses what the German
brain scientist told me at dinner in Dubrovnik 5-6 years ago.

I can speak widely in four languages: English, German, French, and Serbo-Croatian. I have bits and pieces of about 15 languages,
some verbal, some reading, some both; some bits and pieces being very limited. As I perambulate about Philadelphia, I probably
get to chat people up in Mandrin Chinese and Arabic (close to half of the taxi drivers in Philadelphia have some Arabic, even if
they are not Arabs) about 5 times a week in each, on average, although my vocabilary in each is very limited. I have just started
to translate Flemish. (I just, reluctantly, under pressure from old friends, joined Facebook, a Pal on this Forum asked to be my
"Friend", and most of his posts and those of his "Friends" are in Flemish, or sometimes German.)

Basically, a set of really good reasons to start messing about in an other language. In a related vein, a friend of a friend was a
seriously good chess player, he started to complain that he was not able to plan as many moves ahead when he played, people thought
that he was fine, and then he died, an aurtopsy (sp?) was done, and it was found that that his brain was riddled with Alzheimer's
lesions, it was amazing that he could function at all, never mind play high-end chess.


Gray Matter

Why Bilinguals Are Smarter


Harriet Russell

By YUDHIJIT BHATTACHARJEE

Published: March 17, 2012


SPEAKING two languages rather than just one has obvious practical benefits in an increasingly globalized world. But in recent years, scientists have begun to show that the advantages of bilingualism are even more fundamental than being able to converse with a wider range of people. Being bilingual, it turns out, makes you smarter. It can have a profound effect on your brain, improving cognitive skills not related to language and even shielding against dementia in old age.

This view of bilingualism is remarkably different from the understanding of bilingualism through much of the 20th century. Researchers, educators and policy makers long considered a second language to be an interference, cognitively speaking, that hindered a child’s academic and intellectual development.

They were not wrong about the interference: there is ample evidence that in a bilingual’s brain both language systems are active even when he is using only one language, thus creating situations in which one system obstructs the other. But this interference, researchers are finding out, isn’t so much a handicap as a blessing in disguise. It forces the brain to resolve internal conflict, giving the mind a workout that strengthens its cognitive muscles.

Bilinguals, for instance, seem to be more adept than monolinguals at solving certain kinds of mental puzzles. In a 2004 study by the psychologists Ellen Bialystok and Michelle Martin-Rhee, bilingual and monolingual preschoolers were asked to sort blue circles and red squares presented on a computer screen into two digital bins — one marked with a blue square and the other marked with a red circle.

In the first task, the children had to sort the shapes by color, placing blue circles in the bin marked with the blue square and red squares in the bin marked with the red circle. Both groups did this with comparable ease. Next, the children were asked to sort by shape, which was more challenging because it required placing the images in a bin marked with a conflicting color. The bilinguals were quicker at performing this task.

The collective evidence from a number of such studies suggests that the bilingual experience improves the brain’s so-called executive function — a command system that directs the attention processes that we use for planning, solving problems and performing various other mentally demanding tasks. These processes include ignoring distractions to stay focused, switching attention willfully from one thing to another and holding information in mind — like remembering a sequence of directions while driving.

Why does the tussle between two simultaneously active language systems improve these aspects of cognition? Until recently, researchers thought the bilingual advantage stemmed primarily from an ability for inhibition that was honed by the exercise of suppressing one language system: this suppression, it was thought, would help train the bilingual mind to ignore distractions in other contexts. But that explanation increasingly appears to be inadequate, since studies have shown that bilinguals perform better than monolinguals even at tasks that do not require inhibition, like threading a line through an ascending series of numbers scattered randomly on a page.

The key difference between bilinguals and monolinguals may be more basic: a heightened ability to monitor the environment. “Bilinguals have to switch languages quite often — you may talk to your father in one language and to your mother in another language,” says Albert Costa, a researcher at the University of Pompeu Fabra in Spain. “It requires keeping track of changes around you in the same way that we monitor our surroundings when driving.” In a study comparing German-Italian bilinguals with Italian monolinguals on monitoring tasks, Mr. Costa and his colleagues found that the bilingual subjects not only performed better, but they also did so with less activity in parts of the brain involved in monitoring, indicating that they were more efficient at it.

The bilingual experience appears to influence the brain from infancy to old age (and there is reason to believe that it may also apply to those who learn a second language later in life).

In a 2009 study led by Agnes Kovacs of the International School for Advanced Studies in Trieste, Italy, 7-month-old babies exposed to two languages from birth were compared with peers raised with one language. In an initial set of trials, the infants were presented with an audio cue and then shown a puppet on one side of a screen. Both infant groups learned to look at that side of the screen in anticipation of the puppet. But in a later set of trials, when the puppet began appearing on the opposite side of the screen, the babies exposed to a bilingual environment quickly learned to switch their anticipatory gaze in the new direction while the other babies did not.

Bilingualism’s effects also extend into the twilight years. In a recent study of 44 elderly Spanish-English bilinguals, scientists led by the neuropsychologist Tamar Gollan of the University of California, San Diego, found that individuals with a higher degree of bilingualism — measured through a comparative evaluation of proficiency in each language — were more resistant than others to the onset of dementia and other symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease: the higher the degree of bilingualism, the later the age of onset.

Nobody ever doubted the power of language. But who would have imagined that the words we hear and the sentences we speak might be leaving such a deep imprint?


Yudhijit Bhattacharjee is a staff writer at Science.

#30 kaiserknight

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 06:34 AM

I agree with the Bob's article on bilingual health.
But this also goes for other species - a beloved family Maltese is my case in point. My father spoke to her in Slovenian, my mother in Italian and we in English - she understood!!!
A bit off topic I suppose - but well worth the chuckle.

Easter Salutations to all of the forum members and readers!

#31 Siege Gunner

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 10:24 AM

... individuals with a higher degree of bilingualism — measured through a comparative evaluation of proficiency in each language — were more resistant than others to the onset of dementia and other symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease: the higher the degree of bilingualism, the later the age of onset.

I'd love to believe this, for my own sake, but unfortunately my thinking is coloured by the experience of a revered former colleague of mine, a linguist of 50+ years' standing, who spoke more than 20 languages but was barely able to converse in his native tongue when I last spoke to him before his untimely death from dementia.

#32 bob lembke

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 08:52 AM

I agree with the Bob's article on bilingual health.
But this also goes for other species - a beloved family Maltese is my case in point. My father spoke to her in Slovenian, my mother in Italian and we in English - she understood!!!
A bit off topic I suppose - but well worth the chuckle.

Easter Salutations to all of the forum members and readers!


When I was a child, we had a cat, Tommy (brought into the family to murder squirrels, which it did with admirable efficiency), and my parents spoke to it in both English and German; although only a child, I felt that if they only spoke to Tommy in German, or in English, they might have had a chance at communication, but randomly using both English and German must have certainly confused the cat. I spend a great deal of time with two cats, and have learned a complex set of modes to communicate quite specifically with them, most of them initialed by the cats, not myself. Recently a cat decided to signal me to scratch her head by reaching out with one paw, hook my hand, and pull it to her head, at which point I complied. Then, after a period, she figured out a "short-hand"; she reached out with her paw, and merely tapped my hand twice quickly, a simpler communication than the complete snaring and pulling of my hand to her head.

Your father was Slovene? I have been there many times; working, living, studying, as well as mere tourism. Your dog understood Slovene? It is a bit complex; I and my American associates found Slovene rather hard, and favored the simpler Serbo-Croatian, a pragmatic compromise that disappointed our Slovene associates. I communicated with a bit of polite Slovene, and Serbo-Croatian and German for more complex communication.

Bob

#33 bob lembke

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 09:13 AM

I'd love to believe this, for my own sake, but unfortunately my thinking is coloured by the experience of a revered former colleague of mine, a linguist of 50+ years' standing, who spoke more than 20 languages but was barely able to converse in his native tongue when I last spoke to him before his untimely death from dementia.


Mich;

Indeed a sad situation. But there is more and more evidence of the usefulness of hard mental exertion in keeping mental loss at bay, much of it anecdotal. But of course a case can progress to a point where much function is lost.

There was a friend of a friend, thru my wife (who works in dozens of languages at work, but only "knows" about 15), and he was a serious and very good chess player. At some point he complained that he could no longer think ahead as many moves, but he seemed fine to his friends; when he passed on there was an autopsy, and his brain was absolutely eaten up by his Altzheimer's; it was considered a wonder that he had the level of functionality that he still managed. I had a dear friend who was highly educated and smart; she came down with that terrible premature galloping Altzheimer's in her early 50's, really awful.

A really amazing study in the US; using a body of nuns as a test population, it was found that the complexity of the language used in their entry process essays written during their novice period, say at age 20, were highly predictive of their probability of their contracting Alzheimer's 50 or more years later; the nuns who wrote structurally complex essays when 20 were much less likely to come down with Alzheimer's when they were 70 or 75. Amazing, and raising more questions than answers.

Bob



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