I've always loved foreign languages

I've always loved foreign languages and learning new ones. I can speak Spanish fluently, and can get by in French and Italian as well, though my accents (especially in French) are terrible. It's always seemed so simple to me: there are rules and there are words. And learning a new language is as simple as memorizing the rules (which are similar across most languages) and learning the new words. Follow the rules, string the words together accordingly and bammo! you're speaking German. Or French, or even Java. I've been learning Java the past few weeks and I'm noticing the same patterns as learning any other language (human or machine). The rules are a little different: instead of subjunctive, you've got IFs, but it's just a series of words assembled based on a set of rules. When you construct your statement accordingly, you get the desired results. Break the rules and you get the wrong answer or say the wrong thing. And I've always felt that language and math were similar, except with math you replace words with numbers. Follow the rules, string the numbers together accordingly, and bammo! you're doing math. It's always surprised me that a person is categorized as a "math person" or a "language person." It seems to me there are people whose brains work well with the structure of items and rules, and there are those whose don't.

Previous: Next: