How do you learn a language with a brain injury?

Of course, I don't mean it's the language that's got a brain injury....

This question related to a very narrow post by ZEBLET(?) in Negeen's Unsupportive Families post...

<my original post>

This is one of the "interesting" areas of memory problems. I'm looking at a mathematical paper and making sense of it (despite having to frequently look up things because I've forgotten what something means) because I can use my visual memory to construct a "flow" picture that make sense of it.

Languages are a totally different matter. I've been trying to learn Russian for about 4 years, on and off, but I just can't remember more than a few words or phrases, an even then i often get confused as to exact pronunciation; in fact, i struggle to make out some of the longer words because I've forgotten the first part of it long before I've got to the end of it!

It's weird and i totally understand why "normal" people have problems empathizing with it. Doesn't make it any less frustrating though - i often wish we had some kind of status light on our heads!

6 Replies

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  • Maybe, you are looking for excuses. Since my brain injury I have learnt to swear and cuss in Gujarati and Swahili. Now the learning of diction and grammar shouldn't be a problem.

  • To "swear and cuss in Gujarati and Swahili" - too many questions for me :-)

  • No, I'm not looking for excuses. Why would I do that?

    I *want* to learn Russian, and I'd like to be able to support my children as they learn their foreign languages at school. I'm looking for strategies for those who have learned. If you don't have problems learning language, then I suspect that your impairments are different to mine.

  • Learning broad subjects is very difficult after a cognitive injury, small snippets you can probably get and understand. However, as you say repeated pronunciation is difficult to master even if you are without injury - so I wouldn't fret too much about it.

    I find it difficult to read more than a few pages of a book although small magazine articles are fine. I guess it is down to the amount of memory that we can commit at one time? May be at the moment it may be "a bridge too far" and park it on the longer term aspiration list.

    I too would like the status lights on the forehead mine would be the "overload" flashing light which would come in especially when my wife (of that hormonal age) is in a full enthusiastic rant - still it gives me relief from my tinnitus :-)

  • This is where everone is different in their injuries and recoveries, it's a question of try try and try again, but there would come a point where if it's not working , give up there's no point stressing yourself. I find that with puzzles, jigsaws things like that when I sit down to them at first my brain can make no sense so I come back to them time and again, eventually things click and I can do it, it's like my brain takes a snapshot and works on it when I'm not aware, eventually it makes sense, but that's me it may not be the same for others. Takes a degree of persistence too, I'm not giving up even if it's frustrating.

  • I'M SO GLAD YOU CAME BACK, IHAVE NO IDEA WHAT MADE THAT MESSAGE SO NARROW, WEIRD,

    LANGUAGES ARE ONE OF BE. MY PASSIONS, INCLUDING ENGLISH, I SIT & READ ENGLISH GRAMMAR BOOKS FOR FUN -ADMITTEDLY WITH A MAGNIFYING GLASS & EACH LINE SEVERAL TIMES OVER THESE DAYS!!

    I FIND THAT THE BEST WAY TO LEARN A LANGUAGE IS FROM A PERSON,I NEVER FOUND TAPES ETC ANY GOOD, THEY TELL YOU WHAT TO SAY NOT WHY YOU ARE SAYING. IF YOU CAN'T GET TO A CLASS YOU COULD HAVE A TUTOR AT HOME MAYBE.,THAT WAY YOU CAN REPEAT IT AGAIN & AGAIN &LEARN WHY YOU'RE SAYING IT. KEEP WRITING IT DOWN WITH SOMEONE CORRECTING YOU AS YOU GO ALONG. IF YOU'VE GOT SOMEONE SITTING WITH YOU IT'S EASIER TO GET THINGS TO STICK. PLUS THEY GIVE YOU HOMEWORK SO YOU CAN'T GET OUT OF DOING IT!

    I WAS ALWAYS TAUGHT TO WRITE EVERYTHING DOWN, EVEN IF YOU ONLY LOOK UP ONE WORD IN A DICTIONARY WRITE IT DOWN. I CAN THEN VISUALISE WHERE I WROTE IT, I FOUND A WHITE BOARD USEFUL AS YOU CAN KEEP LOOKING AT IT. I WALK AROUND THE HOUSE SPEAKING FRENCH & IF I CAN'T REMEMBER A WORD (OFTEN THESE DAYS) I WRITE IT DOWN WHERE I CAN SEE IT.

    I'VE DONE 3 OR 4 EUROPEAN LANGUES & A BIT OF JAPANESE. ( I LOVED IT BUT IT WAS SO HARD. POST BI THAT I ADMIT I HAD TO STOP )AND THIS HAS ALWAYS WORKED FOR ME.YOU'VE PICKED A REALLY HARD ONE IN RUSSIAN. THE ALPHABET WAS JUST ABOUT OK BUT THE GRAMMAR IS SO HARD. THE OLYMPICS REALLY HELPED WITH READING!

    I HOPE I'M NOT TEACHING GRANNY TO SUCK EGGS BUT OVER THE LAST 35 YEARS DOING LANGUAGES THESE HAVE HELPED ME. GOOD LUCK & LET ME KNOW HOW YOU GET ON.

    .

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