Learn how to Make Your Synapses Chinese

Chinese language and your Brain

Researchers recently analyzed brain runs of English speakers and Mandarin Chinese speakers. They learned that when English speakers heard English, their left temporal lobes became active Synapse xt.

However, when Mandarin Chinese speakers heard their local tongue, there was a buzz of action in the right and left temporal lobes! Why? The reason lies in how serotonin levels processes the information our five sensory faculties supply.

Scientists have concluded with reasonable confidence that different aspects of the cortex apparently help one to hear words, see words, and speak words. The left temporal lobe is often associated with piecing sounds together into words; the right with processing melody and intonation.

Learning Chinese Tones

So just why when Mandarin Chinese speakers hear their local tongue, the right and left temporal lobes become active? Because in Mandarin Chinese the correct intonation is essential to the meaning of any word! On the contrary, English (or Italian language, French, Spanish, etc. ) is not a tonal language, then there’s no need to use the right temporal lobe.

In Mandarin Chinese the same “syllables” can be evident in four different tones (plus the natural tone), so that, for example, the syllable “ma” evident in the first tone means “mummy”, in the second tone means “pitted”, in the third tone means “horse” and in the fourth tone means “curse”.

It means that if you by mistake change the tone of the word for “mummy”, you might call her “horse”!

How should this affect your learning of Chinese language?

I know by experience that a lot of students are more likely to take Chinese language tones lightly.