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Two Surprising Discoveries While Learning Hebrew

The opening lines of the Bible

I've been learning Hebrew for most of my adult life -- video lessons, college workbooks, small study groups -- and only in the last couple years have I made major progress. That newfound progress is thanks to Duolingo, a wonderful free app that turns learning into a game. It utilizes fun, addictive techniques to keep you motivated and keep you learning. As of today, I'm on a 872-day streak of completing a Hebrew lesson. 😎 

Two surprising discoveries during my Hebrew learning:  

1. Learning to type in a new language (non-Latin alphabet) is unexpectedly easy. 

When I was a teen learning to type English without looking at the keyboard, it took me a great deal of time and effort to move from the "don't look down at the keyboard" stage to "I can type without thinking where the letters are" stage. 

But learning to type Hebrew letters after already typing fast English? Easy, and it took me only a few days of practice. 

The brain has a remarkable and surprising capability of transferring muscle memory to new letters. I don't understand why. Probably something to do with pattern matching. 

 2. Transliteration -- typing Hebrew words using English letters, e.g. "V'ahavta" -- is strangely cumbersome

My mind wants to write English words in English letters, or Hebrew words in Hebrew letters. Mixing them now slows me way down and I find myself typing ו instead of V, ה instead of H, etc. I have to deliberately focus to avoid the "typing without thinking" zone. 

What a weird but awesome work of engineering the human brain is. 😊

Have you learned a language later in life? What surprising things did you discover?

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