The Thursday Thesis – 6/12/2018
Have you ever been told “If you want to learn a foreign language, the best thing you can do is fall in love with a native speaker who speaks little English”?
I have, on more than one occasion – by friends I both love and respect.
But is it true, or just another old wives' tale?
At first flush it seems sensible: we become involved and rapidly absorb the language of the beloved.
Why is this?
Some of the process is down to trusting our lover whilst we fumble around their syntax and bludgeon their grammar.
We presume they will be patient and forgive us as we foul-up and gradually improve - like a parent patiently encouraging their child to walk.
The parent encourages and supports the youngster, enthusing over every attempt at the vertical and smiling at each tiny progression.
Patience and safety work: that’s why almost every child learns to walk – the parents don’t watch junior tumble for the first time, then say “this one’s not a walker...” and abandon the child.
Better still is the gentle delivery of feedback – the “Breakfast of Champions”, though I always thought toast was what they ate.
But there’s something else which might just play a large part in the acquisition of a lover’s language: a natural hormone called oxytocin, which is manufactured by your body’s hypothalamus and pituitary gland.
Oxytocin production is stimulated by – amongst other things – bonding, falling in love, cuddles and orgasm; good old fashioned love ‘n’ sex.
Here’s the bit that matter most: as well as virtually eradicating the stress hormone cortisol, oxytocin is associated with neuroplasticity – your brain’s natural ability to reconfigure itself and learn new things.
Your brain is always changing: it’s a “trembling web”, according to Ian Robertson in his book Mind Sculpture: Your Brain's Untapped Potential. (See the link below)
A rush of oxytocin is like an earthquake in that trembling web.
To put it another way, just imagine your brain is made out of chicken-wire, with connections criss-crossing all over the place...now heat up that chicken-wire with a blowtorch and notice how squishy and pliable it’s become.
That’s your brain on oxytocin; that’s your brain in love.
Seems to me that those old wives knew a thing or two and science is just catching up with them...
Link to MIND SCULTURE: Your Brain's Untapped Potential https://amzn.to/2PpqvN9
© Neil Cowmeadow 2018
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