Forgetting your Spanish too quickly? Take a nap

by David

(Philadelphia) If you’ve ever pulled an all-nighter to sneak in some extra studying right before a test, you’ll be surprised to find out that your study spree was probably detrimental to your performance the next day. Assistant Neuroscience professor Marcos Frank, PhD and colleagues at the University of Pennsylvania have published research describing how cells change to promote the formation of memories when you sleep.

“This is the first real direct insight into how the brain, on a cellular level, changes the strength of its connections during sleep,” Frank says.

According to Frank, the brain is fundamentally different– in terms of biochemical, enzymatic changes– when sleeping than when awake. “To our amazement, we found that these enzymes never really turned on until the animal had a chance to sleep,” Frank explains, “As soon as the animal had a chance to sleep, we saw all the machinery of memory start to engage.”

This research focuses on how memories are formed or stored, not how they are recalled. But if you want to correctly recall Spanish vocabulary, it needs to be stored first. So, if you want to remember what you’re working to learn, sleep on it.

Source: Penn Study Shows Why Sleep is Needed to Form Memories

Translating a Book Could Cost you your Life

by David

(Kabul, Afghanistan) Six men have been imprisoned for their part in translating the Quran into one of the languages spoken in Afghanistan. They are accused of modifying and trying to supplant the original Arabic version of the Quran, Islam’s holy book. The men will go on trial on Sunday.

The translation was made in an attempt to help Afghans who don’t speak Arabic, but has caused an outcry among Muslims who insist that the original Arabic verses should have appeared alongside the translated version.

Afgahnistan has no laws against translating the Quran, but Zalmai is accused of translating the book in violation of Islamic Shariah law.

Ahmad Ghaws Zalmai, who printed the translation, was arrested as he tried to flee to Pakistan, and now faces a death sentence.

Translators have commented that a translation becomes a separate, but related text and does not replace or challenge the veracity of the original.


Quick! Start using these words before they are removed from the dictionary

by David

The Collins English Dictionary is planning to remove 24 words from their dictionary to “make room for up to 2,000 new entries”, according to Time Magazine’s website. I don’t know if they are removing them from an unabridged version or if perhaps they are cleaning up a pocket-sized dictionary. Removal from an unabridged dictionary seems inappropriate, even if they are extremely uncommon words. In any case, I vilipend the idea.

It also seems the new words are going to be quite short. Removing these 24 words is going to make room for 2,000 new ones.

Here are the words. You decide their fate. If you can use any of these in a sentence, maybe they can be revived.

For those of you who speak Spanish, can you spot the four words that are cognates of Spanish words commonly used today?

  • AbstergentCleansing.
  • AgresticRural.
  • ApodeicticUnquestionably true by virtue of demonstration.
  • CaducityPerishableness.
  • CaliginosityDimness.
  • CompossiblePossible in coexistence with something else.
  • EmbrangleTo confuse.
  • ExuviateTo shed.
  • FatidicalProphetic.
  • FubsySquat.
  • GriseousSomewhat grey.
  • MalisonA curse.
  • MansuetudeGentleness.
  • MuliebrityThe condition of being a woman.
  • NidderingCowardly.
  • NitidBright.
  • OlidFoul-smelling.
  • OppugnantCombative.
  • PeriaptAn amulet.
  • RecrementRefuse.
  • RoborantTending to fortify.
  • SkirrA whirring sound, as of the wings of birds in flight.
  • VaticinateProphesy.
  • VilipendTo treat with contempt.

Did you know any of those before reading the list?

Pastime: Using the Subjunctive in English

by David

I never knew the subjunctive existed or what it was until studying Spanish. And after learning the Spanish subjunctive mood, I learned that English still has vestiges of the subjunctive. Now, one of my favorite pastimes is to use the grammatically correct, but somewhat unusual subjunctive in English, especially declining to join the two clauses with “that” and chuckling within when my interlocutors give me a wary “literary” look.

Learning Spanish & English with I Love Lucy

by David

First let’s learn some Spanish

Now for some English …

I hope you enjoyed a laugh or two. If you want to watch some more, there are plenty on Youtube.