Challenge a friend

Language Game: Anagrams

Being clever with language can help us develop our social relationships.

Solve as many anagrams as fast as you can in 1 minute by rearranging the letters of one word into another word.

Language and Age

Language (both written and spoken) is a great communication tool. It is mostly processed by the left-hemisphere of your brain. The left-hemisphere of your brain is more logical and process orientated than the right-hemisphere. As we get older the language center moves more to the right-hemisphere. It has been theorized that this is because our brains are compensating for age-related loss of functional capacity.

Males are usually a bit more left-hemisphere dominant than females. But the scientists still don't know if this make males more likely to struggle with language as they age.

In a recent study 93% of Americans said they wished they had a quicker sense of humor. Speed is important in language because sentences have rhythm, if you often find yourself stuck mid conversation searching for the right word then you need to train your brain to process language better.

How Language Works

For us to write, speak and to understand speech and writing requires an enormous amount of brain resources. These resources not only have to manage information about many thousands of words but many different relationships between words that give them different meanings. This complex combination of brain structures is called your linguistic system.

Larger brain regions are involved in more abstract operations while smaller regions that are nearer to sensory cortex are involved in operations that are closer to basic sensory processing. Thus, putting together the pieces of the puzzle of the how the brain is organized to input and output language may be a very complex task. The application of new imaging techniques is moving research in this area along very fast.

Researchers from University College London found learning other languages altered gray matter - the area of the brain which processes information - in the same way exercise builds muscles. We know the brain has the ability to change its structure as a result of stimulation - an effect known as plasticity - but this research demonstrates how learning languages develops it.

How can I improve my language?

Vocabulary acquisition can be enhanced when it is embedded in real-world complex contexts that are familiar to us. But we need time and experience ("practice") to consolidate new skills and knowledge to become fluent and articulated. So don't go and start reading anything too crazy, but keep pushing yourself - if you see a word you don't know, look it up.

Crossword puzzles are great, and they will improve your vocabulary. But just because you have memorized the dictionary doesn't mean you will be the world’s best communicator. Listening is half of good communication. As we get older we don't just lose our listening skills because we are hard of hearing. Time after time we think we have heard it all before and begin to lose interest. Finding something we are interested in may be half the battle won. I haven't yet learnt a second language but I plan to. My father doesn't give a speech without reference to the Maori words for family. Learning a new language in his 50's was hard but it has really enriched his life.

Youngest Brain Ages by country