Friday, August 16, 2013

Why You Should Learn Another Language


Being an adult is hard. And in our vast techno-digital landscape, there are millions of screaming voices, but too few voices to tell us what we need to know to be proper, respectable grown-ups. To help weed through the noise, Motherboard has partnered with the smart minds at the Stuff You Should Know blog to bring you a weekly column about real life.

By the arrival of this, the tenth installment of our guide to proper adulthood here on Motherboard, you are surely now a proper adult. So we will take our leave of your development. We wish you the best of luck in the continued adventure of being an adult! But first, let us argue for expanding your intelligence and experience of the human condition one last time by telling you why you need to learn another language.

It is thanks to two people living with brain damage in the 19th century, one with epilepsy and one with a stroke, that we understand how we process language. (Oh, and decades of linguistics research probably helped too.) After being able to closely physically study one of his recently-deceased patients, early German neurologist Carl Wernicke found a lesion on a particular region of the man’s brain. This lesion was important because, following his stroke, the man could not understand what other people said to him.
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