CaféLingo Ep. 4 – Ali: Neuroscience and Mastering his Second Language

Hey guys! Welcome to my first podcast show notes published on my blog! Due to formatting issues I had to move the Spotify embed to the bottom so scroll down for a listen or read on for an overview!

First things first. Right when you hit play, you’re going to hear an awesome new jingle produced by my good friend Meshach Tarr, so first of all I would like to give him a massive shoutout for making this show that much more interesting and polished.

Here’s a sample of one of my favourites of his new songs:

Meshach is an up and coming music producer with 5+ years of experience, and a new Soundcloud profile bursting with fresh tracks. He shares music under the name of The Vinyl Record, and you can find him by clicking here.

Now on to the show itself!

Ali Daneshmand is a 17 year-old student and up and coming neuroscientist living in Tehran, Iran. He won the silver medal in a national neuroscience Olympiad of 4000 participants and plans to travel to the United States, Britain, or Canada to continue his studies and career in neuroscience. His first language is Persian (farsi), but he speaks fluent English and Spanish as well. He started learning English when he was seven and has since progressed to full mastery and fluency (plus a stylish British flourish to go with it) giving him loads of experience and tips to share in the realms of language learning.

Topics that we explored in the show were:

  • Ali’s introduction 1:29
  • Ali’s experience learning English, and his tips for immersing yourself in the target language. 2:10
  • How Ali got into neuroscience and the International Brain Bee. 4:03
  • The language centres of the brain, and how neurobiology has helped Ali to understand how we produce and understand language. 6:05
  • Differences between the multilingual brain and the monolingual one, and the cognitive benefits of learning languages. (You get more brain!!) 7:44
  • Understanding how important it is to learn English for non-native speakers for educational and professional opportunities, as well as benefits of learning foreign languages for English speakers. 10:50
  • Some branches of neuroscience and ideas for Ali’s post secondary education. 13:30
  • How acquiring a first language is different from acquiring a second, and the neurological differences between learning a language as a child and as an adult. 16:30
  • The role (or lack thereof) of school and institutions in Ali’s language learning process. 24:00
  • Ali’s advice for language learners. 25:36
  • Practicing your speaking to strengthen your sinapses and staying conversational in a language. 28:54
  • Neurological disorders and broca’s/wernikes aphasia. 30:34
  • A common misconception about Persians and the Persian language + differences between Persian and Arabic. 34:00

Last but not least I would like to spread the word about Digestible, the short weekly email newsletter in which Jeffery Sutherland (a.k.a. Dad to me) shares all that he finds new and remarkable in the week. The emails are relevant and thought provoking, whether he’s inviting you to his weekly MovNat sessions in the Edmonton river valley, giving summaries and suggestions for remarkable podcasts, articles, and books, or exploring topics such as the Bible, exercise and wellness. You can subscribe to Digestible on his blog here.

In this episode, Ali, a 17-year-old aspiring neuroscientist teaches us about how he learned English from his native language Persian, as well as shares how learning about neuroscience has helped him get new insights into how our brains produce, understand, and learn languages.

2 thoughts on “CaféLingo Ep. 4 – Ali: Neuroscience and Mastering his Second Language

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