"Being bilingual may delay Alzheimer's and boost brain power..."

Tom Givon tgivon at uoregon.edu
Mon Feb 21 22:08:19 UTC 2011

Dear Brian--

Of course, tho I really don't know for sure, I suppose for lack of an 
adequate sample? Fr. Matteo Ricci, SJ (1552-1610), who opened China for 
the Jesuits & became a revered Sinologist, dies at 58 (see J. Spence's 
"The Memory Palace of Matteo Ricci", NY: Viking, 1984). And he was a 
noted Menemonist too, plenty of hippocampus exercises, using the old 
medieval system of planting texts along complex locations (like Luria's 
patient in "The Mind of the Mnemonist"). My late friend & benefactor Jon 
Verhaar, SJ, certainly a fluent Dutch-German-English-Indonesian-Latin 
speaker, died at the age of ca. 75 (tho his mother lived to be 98; I 
don't think she was multilingual, tho). My Jesuit friend Augustino 
Gianto, SJ  in the Vatican, a terrific multilingual Semitic scholar, is 
only in his 50s, I think, and thus not yet a proper data point for 
Jesuits. Finally, just to skew the sample a bit, my mother will be 100 
in October & still got a mind like a steel trap, can remind you of your 
most trivial sins going back to antiquity, still thinks she rules the 
Universe. And bingo, she used to be fluent in Spanish, Bulgarian, 
Russian, French, Italian and Hebrew. So she seems ti beat all the 
Jesuits I know & admire. You reckon. Cheers,  TG


On 2/21/2011 2:35 PM, Brian MacWhinney wrote:
> So, does the Jesuit priest who learned 80 languages get to live to 130?
> -- Brian

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