Neuroplasticity, (and other foreign languages).

swedish-flag-2432445_1920I’m trying to learn Swedish.  My son-in-law, the family Swede, says that such a project is not terribly practical since only an impressive minority of people on the planet speak his native tongue. 

Since when is the grandmother of the most precious one-year-old in the universe expected to be practical??  So, Duolingo gives me updates on how I’m doing.  Currently, it says I’m around 34% fluent in Swedish.

Clearly, they define “fluency” differently than I do.  For example, if I wanted to say something like, “your dinosaur has a funny nose”, I would be woefully lost for words.

And Duolingo doesn’t teach you any expletives, which probably a good thing when you’re a 58-year-old trying to learn a new language….

Nevertheless, I am intrigued by how even my older brain works in this process.  When starting a new module, I feel somewhat overwhelmed by all the new words and forms of words!  But as I progress through the lessons, I find my brain adjusting, remembering, processing the new language.  Something to do with neuroplasticity:

“The human brain has the amazing ability to reorganize itself by forming new connections between brain cells (neurons).” 

A-ha! I’m thinking it must be similar with spiritual concepts.  We can allow ourselves to be overwhelmed in discouragement, OR…

…we can take it one module at a time.  Repetitively.  Persistently. 

 “So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.”

But honestly, there are days when I get home from work, and let’s face it, I’m too tired, or busy, or whatever.  Distractions are too numerous to count, but the end result is the same, no Swedish in my head.  Spiritual laziness/distractions work the same way, and as expected, with the same result.

Lazy people don’t even cook the game they catch,
    but the diligent make use of everything they find.

I know that one of the best ways to learn this new language is true immersion, surrounding myself with Swedish-speaking people.  That’s when my grammar is corrected, and maybe I can even wrap my tongue around some of those very non-American sounds, like “kj”, and figure out letters like ö and å. 

Immersion is what the church is for also.  It’s not so we all talk, think, and act just alike (that’s called a “cult”), but I learn to talk, act, and think like Jesus, and wrap my heart and lifestyle around His very “other-culture” plan for my life.

And actually, it is a minority of people that choose to speak His language.  We’ve been told throughout the ages that it’s just not practical. 

When love is the motivation, what’s practicality have to do with it?

“All of this is for your benefit. And as God’s grace reaches more and more people, there will be great thanksgiving, and God will receive more and more glory. That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day.”


Galatians 6:9; Proverbs 12:27; 2 Corinthians 4:15-16  Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Author: dawnlizjones

Tends toward TMI, so here's the short list: guitar and banjo (both of which have been much neglected as of late), bicycling (ibid), dogs, very black tea, and contemplating and commenting on deep philosophical thoughts about which I have had no academic or professional training. Oh, also reading, writing, but I shy away from arithmetic.

3 thoughts on “Neuroplasticity, (and other foreign languages).”

  1. Oh, how I wish I knew something like “well your dinosaur’s nose is funny too” in Swedish so I could impress you. Alas, that shall not be! Thanks for the lesson, however. I can’t swamp myself in Swedish but I can endeavor to do so in learning lovoneeze or some other kind of Jesus-likeness. 😀

    Liked by 2 people

  2. So true. And you could even take the analogy further by discussing accents. Those who remove themselves from one culture, even after fluently learning the language, will ultimately be affected by the language of wherever they go. That’s why too many who’ve been spiritually born sound a lot like those born in the world.

    Liked by 1 person

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