Health + Wellness

The Benefits Of Learning A New Language

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Picking up a new language can benefit the mature learner in more ways than one.

We all know how lifelong learning is one of the key secrets in keeping yourself active and healthy as you age. In fact, learning a new language is one great way to keep yourself mentally sharp as it offers several social and cognitive benefits.

Firstly, enrolling in a language class gives seniors an opportunity for social interaction as it offers the opportunity to learn in a group setting as well as make new friends. For retirees with additional free time, learning a new language can be enriching and meaningful.

Apart from social benefits, learning a second language can be especially useful for those who enjoy travelling. Picking up languages such as Japanese, Korean, French, Italian or Spanish could open you up to a whole new world of opportunities where you could travel nearly anywhere in the world sans a translator. Travellers can also receive a more interactive experience as they are able to communicate more effectively with the locals and better immerse in the local culture.

Most importantly, learning a new language can help slow the brain’s ageing and stave off Alzheimer’s, even if it is done during adulthood. Recent research conducted by the Centre for Cognitive Ageing and Cognitive Epidemiology at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland indicated that those who speak two or more languages had significantly better cognitive abilities in later life, compared to what would be predicted from their performance in the tests at age 11. Researchers from Barcelona’s Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute and Otto von Guericke University in Germany found that the process of learning a language and acquiring a wider vocabulary has the effect of triggering the ventral striatum, a pleasure centre in the brain.

Bilingual or multilingual people tend to have faster thought processes, are better at multitasking, are more perceptive to their surroundings, and are better decision-makers. In other words, learning a new language is a powerful way to exercise your mind and feel younger.

If you’re signing up for a language class, here are some recommended voice recorders.

Olympus LS-14












To learn a new language, it will be good to capture the best sound quality possible. The Olympus LS-14 happens to be one of the better models for portable audio capture. A great piece of engineering in a compact package, the LS-14 features a non-slip exterior finish with molded ribs on the sides, two cardioid mics (60Hz to 20kHz) set at 90 degree angles for left and right sound and an omni-directional mic (20Hz to 20kHz) in the middle. For a classroom setting, the LS-14 comes with selectable 100Hz or 300Hz low cut filters to reduce exterior noises for greater clarity when recording. You can also select your recording mode by choosing either PCM WAV files from 44 to 96kHz, 16 or 24 bit, or MP3 files from 64 to 320kbps.


Zoom H4n













The H4N from ZOOM at first glance looks the part of a professional voice recorder, sporting a solid design that is nicely weighted. Featuring a unique X/Y microphone design with its stereo left and right condenser microphones (mics) arranged on the same axis, this ensures that the mics are always equidistant from the sound source and will respond uniformly to frequencies for natural depth and accurate sound capture. The mics also adjust for variable recording patterns at either 90° (standard) or 120° (wide angle). Other features include a shock resistant rubberized body, large 1.9-inch LCD screen and an intuitive control layout for ease of use.

Sony ICD-SX734











The most compact of the trio, Sony’s ICD-SX734 voice recorder is very practical and easy-to-use. The ICD-SX734 also features a S-Microphone System, which allows for increased sensitivity when you record and also enables a more natural stereo audio reproduction for better quality recordings. The ICD-SX734 also has a large LCD screen, a USB connection for easier data transfer and can plays high-resolution audio, which is off higher quality than music CDs (44.1kHz/16Bit). This recorder also comes with Sony’s Intelligent Noise Cut function that helps minimise surrounding ambient noise for better playback.




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