Friday, January 26, 2018

language processing

Just a little note mostly for myself.

I have noticed when I am listening to languages that most foreign languages process into my audio 'eye' instead of my actual audio 'ear'...  This might be because I am synesthetic (synesthesia, senses blending together) or because I am also dyslexic or  maybe it is how the two meet in the middle.

When I hear most foreign languages I 'see' the words in my head and that is how I process them, from the 'sight' of the words transferred from what I hear.  However, this makes the recall of what I just heard slower and it has to go through layers to remember what words I heard in what order.

English and Welsh, surprisingly both process through my audio 'ear'.. as in, I remember in an audible recording in my mind what was said instead of a visual picture of what was said.  If you had said something to me in English while I was listening to something else I can 'pick up an echo' of what I heard and respond to you.  People do it all the time.  And I've noticed that if I heard a sentence in Welsh I can use this same channel for Welsh.  It is there for me to 'echo' as I heard it, and then try to pick it through if needed but usually the words I know translate over almost immediately and the others are left to visualize.  With other foreign languages, almost the entire thing is visualized first, with the audio being lost until I try to pronounce the words separately.

I'm not quite sure what it means, but it is pretty amazing to me.  Each time it hits me I feel : 'This is the way it should be.  This is why this comes faster to me than other languages.'

French is in between -I know many things but the sentences need to be rearranged to match English's sentence rhythm and pattern.  Things that are 'so French', like 'je ne sais quoi' are there, but not other phrases. 

I also notice a lot of 'back and forth' feeling with the French as if I am visually hopping back and forth over the sentence to rearrange it for myself before translating.  But even listening to some children's stories I was able to work it out quickly enough to understand without having to pause over and over.

With Welsh, the hopping and back and forth happens like a skip recording on a tape player, and 'echoes' when I ask it to, without a visual overlay of words as an automatic part of the information.  I think this is a much more 'natural' way - the way children learn a language - so it has been easier for me to pick up phrases and get the accent for Welsh than it ever has been with any other language.

I've described trying to listen and respond in Spanish as 'rolling down a hill'.. I feel like everything is crazy wrapped up and spinning and I'm not sure of enough of what is happening to do anything but hold on tight until it stops (which in real Spanish conversations, it hardly ever does) and then I can sort it and try to figure out what I heard and try to answer.

This is why I couldn't learn to speak and hear Spanish the many times I have taken a try at it.  Although I've succeded in being able to read it on a n elementary level.  I've tried with Esme when she wanted to learn - but it just never will be useful for me in conversation and I definitely couldn't teach her.  She didn't want to learn French.. although I tried that and had a bit more success with her, she just started saying she only wanted to learn Spanish.  She still says she wants to learn it - but she won't stick to any program to try.

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