The Basics of What We Understand About Brain Injuries and Language

The brain is the most complex organ in the human body, and it has many parts that are responsible for a variety of everyday activities. One of the activities that we do every day is communicate, which involves several parts of the brain.

Damage to certain parts of the brain can change your language capabilities substantially. In some instances, an injured person might have difficulties speaking, while others might have difficulties understanding spoken or written language. Severe brain damage can lead to a complete loss of all language capacities. The difficulties a person encounters depends on the region or the brain that is damaged. Here are a few ways that a brain injury can affect language processing.

How Language Regions of the Brain Can Be Damaged

Areas of the brain that process language could incur damage based from a variety of situations. One typical reason the brain might become damaged is epilepsy, which causes recurrent seizures. It’s also possible for a part of the brain to be damaged during surgery, because of diseases such as brain cancer, or trauma resulting from a physical injury.

Parts of the Brain Associated with Language Processing

Several parts of the brain are associated with language processing, including the Wernicke’s area and Broca’s area.  Other parts of the brain, such as the angular gyrus, insular cortex, and basal ganglia, are involved in language processing as well. According to neuroscience researchers, “Regions in your frontal, temporal and parietal lobes formulate what you want to say and the motor cortex, in your frontal lobe, enables you to speak the words.” Damage to any one of these areas can result in decreased language abilities.

Damage to the Wernicke and Broca Areas of the Brain

When the Wernicke’s area is damaged, a person might be able to speak but not able to understand language. Carl Wernicke first learned this when a patient exhibited this symptom in 1867. A few years earlier, in 1861, Pierre Paul Broca observed a patient who was able to understand language but not produce it. He then found out in a postmortem examination that there was a lesion in what is now known as the Broca’s area.

According to personal injury lawyers, “As one of the most complex organs in the human body, the brain can dramatically alter your daily life when it’s damaged. For instance, if Wernicke’s area of the brain suffers damage, you could no longer be able to understand or comprehend written or spoken words. If Broca’s area is affected, you might not be able to form words to speak.”

Other Types of Language Deficits

The Wernicke’s area and Broca’s area are areas of the brain that are commonly referenced when talking about language loss, but there are other ways that a person can experience a language deficit. A deficit in language is called aphasia, and there are two types of aphasia: receptive and expressive. Receptive aphasia refers to a person’s ability to understand the meaning of language, and expressive aphasia refers to a person’s ability to express language.

Receptive and Expressive Aphasias

An example of receptive aphasia is a person who is able to express language but has difficulty understanding it. A person with receptive aphasia might still retain the ability to speak, but the words they are speaking might not have any meaning.

With an expressive aphasia, a person will be unable to make meaningful language, or their language will be impaired. They will, however, be able to understand language, and they will likely be aware of their impaired deficits in their ability to produce meaningful language.

Do People With Language Deficits Due to Brain Injury Ever Make Progress?

People who suffer a brain injury can make progress, and it’s sometimes over the course of several years or even decades. Those who experience brain injury might have difficulties expressing themselves, but it might get better over time. There are also things you can do to help, such as slowing the conversation or using simplified language to communicate.
Interested in learning more about how language learning affects the brain? Check out the Language Learners Journal for more information and free resources, or sign up for one of our online courses.

Canoe Lake in Portsmouth

The Ultimate Guide to Pompey Slang for Tourists

Pompey is a slang term for Portsmouth, a waterfront city on a tiny island off the South Coast of England. With a vast association with the Royal and Merchant Navy, it is culturally a very diverse city with a unique and fascinating history. The slang I grew up hearing was once widely used by many other locals as a signal of heritage and a sense of pride in their community.  If you go ‘dayntain’ to the local markets you will still hear the spoken slang commonly known as ‘Pompey Speak‘ which has also been captured in the literature of many famous authors!

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This includes the work of Charles Dickens who was born in the city. Sir Arthur Conan Doyal the author of Sherlock Holmes was once a resident here too, as well as Rudyard Kipling author of the Jungle Book and H.G Wells author of War of the Worlds and The Time Machine.  Other notable people born in Portsmouth included Isambard Brunel, an engineer during the Industrial Revolution, James Callaghan, who was the British prime minister during the 1970s and John Pounds, the founder of the first ragged school. Ragged schools provided free education to working-class children across the city.  The comedian and actor Peter Sellers was born in Southsea. Even Arnold Schwarzenegger once lived and trained in Portsmouth!

For more information about famous people who have been residents in Portsmouth or the secrets, that the city holds check out ‘Secret Portsmouth‘, available on Amazon. Click the picture for more details.

What’s in an Accent? 

The Royal Garrison Church in Portsmouth
The Royal Garrison Church in Portsmouth, photograph by Charley Jenkins.

The maritime connection in Portsmouth has really set the Pompey accent apart from the typical local Hampshire accent which is more country sounding. The closest match to a Portsmouth accent would have to be Cockney accent. A lot of the slang words from London have worked their way down to Portsmouth over the years. There is a reason for this as after WW2 many Londoners were re-homed in Portsmouth and also many dockworkers came from the East End of London. ‘Pompey Speak‘ is rather diverse structurally and phonetically from all other regional English accents.  There are also a lot of borrowed words that are Cockney slang and Romany Gypsy in origin. When Gypsy and Traveller sites in Hampshire, especially the New Forest area were closed some Romany families were moved to the Portsmouth area.

If you are planning a trip to Portsmouth here is your guide to understanding and sounding like the locals…

The A-Z Pompey Slang Guide 

Beard on – When you are not believing in what another person is saying.

Cream Krackered – To be really tired and exhausted. This is a phrase that has worked its way down from London.

Chore – Meaning Stolen. ‘Chored‘ is of Romany Gypsy origin, which makes its use in Pompey slang rather ironic.

Chuffed – When someone is happy or proud of an accomplishment.

Chufty badge – When someone has accomplished something and is feeling rather proud, and will NOT stop talking about it. Someone might ask if they want a ‘chufty badge‘.

Cushty – It’s all good. Another word that is Romany Gypsy in origin.

Diamond Geezer – A really top bloke.

Divvi – A word borrowed from the Romany Gypsy language meaning crazy.

Dinlo – A lighthearted insult meaning fool. ‘Din’, and ‘dinny’ are also used. Like many words on this list, it is Romany Gypsy in origin.

Duff –  A term used for when something is broken. “E got duff’ed up real good” actually translates as “He got broken (beaten up) badly“.

Chinny – The same meaning as ‘beard on‘. This is used when a person is not believing in what another person is saying!

Eze up – When someone is getting a bit too much in your face and you need them to calm down.

Gavvers – A Romany Gypsy word for police.

Gettin lairy – What someone is doing if they are being overly sarcastic or losing their cool.

Got a chuffty on – When you are commenting on a person being proud of something. Sometimes said in a sarcastic tone, i.e. “I bet you got a chuffty on about it“.

In a cop/cop on someone – To be annoyed with someone.

Knackered – Exhausted, tired, can also mean ‘broken’ if applied to an object.

Knukledayn – To get on with a task.

Well, Mangey – Something looks dirty, ill or uncared for.

Mush – (Pronounced as moosh). Another Romany Gypsy word originally meaning man, but now used for a mate.

Mush Bird – A rather masculine woman!

Mullered – Once again a word borrowed from the Romany that can either mean intoxicated or that someone has been beaten up really badly.

Noice One Geeze – Good job mate.

Off ya ‘ed – Someone who isn’t thinking right… likely to be intoxicated!

Roight Scank – Disgusting.

Sort – A person that is good looking.

Scrummy –  Something that is really delicious.

Squinny – To complain or cry a lot!

See a man about a dog –  Borrowed from Cockney slang this means to attend a meeting or to go to the toilet!

Skive – To take an unwarranted day off work or school, for example, pulling a sickie!

Tain – Town 

Taking the piss – Mocking someone.

Tickety-boo – When something is going smoothly without any disasters.

Turk Tain – Is a reference to the neighboring town of Gosport.

Turned ’round n said – When referencing to how someone had told another person off (i.e. I turned ’round n said to erm...).

Weee! – A surprised expression. Not to be confused with the Scottish term for little.

Well ‘ard – Someone who knows how to take care of themselves. Don’t mess with them!

Bonus Tip: Wanna sound like a local then forget ‘Ts‘ they become silent and add an ‘S‘ to the end of everything you say, for example, Yous twos, Tescos, Asdas, and ones… because even one can become a plural when you are from Pompey!

Photograph by Rebekka Lee
Photograph by Rebekka Lee

Thank you to Jennifer Hudson, Charley Jenkins, Rebekka Lee, Carly Morrissey and Neil Ansell for your support on writing this blog post and sharing your photographs.


Have I missed something or is a meaning outdated or not correct?
Let me know or add it to the comments section below.

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What Languages are the Most Useful in the Business World?

When it comes to business, there are many aspects you need to consider to be successful. One of the most important things is which languages to learn. If you know some useful languages, you can go far in your business ventures. If you lack these skills, you might miss out on great opportunities. Take a look at this list of the most useful languages in the business world.

 

English

Despite the rise of popularity of many other languages, English is still the best language you can know if you want to be successful in business. English is used in business law, accounting, meetings, and advertising in written form.

It is seen as the international business language. If English is your native language, then you’re in luck. However, if it isn’t, consider taking courses. While you might not be masterful overnight, it will pay off in the long run. This language is showing no signs of slowing down as the most used in business settings worldwide.

 

Spanish

Imagine if you could land in South America, Mexico, Spain, or the Canary Islands and instantly do business with anyone you met. Also keep in mind that many people in the United States now speak Spanish as their native language, opening up opportunities there. That is the power of knowing Spanish.

Madrid, Mexico City, and Buenos Aires are all known as banking hubs. If you work in finance or wish to have connections in that industry, you can hardly do better than learning Spanish. While many of your colleagues in those areas are likely to know some English or another language, your attempt to speak Spanish will earn you big points.

 

Portuguese

With Spanish being such an important language in Europe and Latin America, many people make the mistake of overlooking Portuguese as a viable option. The reality is that Portuguese is an essential language for multiple reasons.

First, all of Brazil speaks Portuguese. That gives you access to one of the most influential economies in the world, and one of the fastest-growing countries in BRIC. São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro are both powerhouses for international meetings, executives, and business trips. Imagine the increased revenue made possible by speaking fluent Portuguese.

 

Mandarin

China’s economy has virtually exploded in the last 20 years. They are the manufacturing powerhouse of the world. Sure, there are issues with their pollution and strict laws in many aspects, but that doesn’t keep China from being very capitalistic. Large power centers of international trade reside in Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Beijing, and Shanghai.

Mandarin is one of the hardest languages to learn. For that reason, many people shy away from investing time or money in learning it. However, when billions of people worldwide speak it, there is inherent value in understanding it. You don’t need to learn the whole language, just enough to talk about a given subject relevant to your company’s goals.

 

Russian

For many, Russia is mostly unknown. They have a unique culture and are relatively isolated with their immense land mass. Russia, however, is one of the wealthiest countries in the world due to their natural resources.

Careers in energy, drilling, and banking often revolve around the ability to connect with Russian clients and customers. If you know Russian, you’ll be one step ahead of everyone else in your industry. Most Fortune 500 companies have some dealings in Russia, meaning you could boost the bottom line by quite a bit if planning to work for one of those companies.

 

When looking to get into the business world, communication is critical. If you don’t have the right channels open to understanding certain languages, you risk getting behind. Multiple languages are used in all aspects of commerce, whether you’re getting a business management degree online, traveling for work, or starting a new business in any form.


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