Pay Attention to Expanding Neural Networks

I was chatting with a friend of mine from overseas last night on Skype. It’s been a while and we were catching up on old stuff, like you do when you haven’t done that in a while, because it’s a natural thing, right? And she was telling me about this new guy that she’s dating. I think she mentioned in passing that he was English, although I can’t be sure. I say in passing, but I’m I don’t know if that’s the correct grammatical description of what happened. She mentioned something that sort of led me to believe that he was English, although she didn’t say what specifically. Like his uncle who lives next door owns a fish and chips shop that has been in the family for several generations, or something else random like that. 

It’s weird when that happens. You’ll be talking with somebody, and you’ll make all kinds of inferences about what was said, but you don’t really don’t pay attention to the underlying intention of the conversation. Like somebody will mention their boyfriend, and then they’ll switch topics completely, and you think they are still talking about their boyfriend, but they’ve switched referential indexes completely so you don’t know exactly who they are talking about.

Like once my other friend was explaining to me the grammatical structure of the Laotian language. They generally don’t use grammatical modifiers, like past tense or familial references. Everything is modified by context. If they start talking about something that happened last Tuesday, everything in that conversation from then out is referenced from Tuesday unless otherwise indicated. I suppose in different languages you develop the ability to pay attention to different levels of intention.

Which I guess it’s a good reason to learn several things, like languages, because they can really help you to develop a rich outlook on life. It’s been proven that an easy way to really have the ability to see things from a different perspective is to learn another language. And not only just words, but to actually think that way. They’ve shown it actually creates new neural pathways that are used differently from other ones. Some of the smartest people in the world can speak several languages. And one tends to wonder, do they speak several languages because they are smart? Or do you become smarter than you already are because you can speak several languages?

Well, at any rate, I hope my friend can get along well with her new boyfriend, regardless of how the fish and chip restaurant pans out.