New language – same lesson.

April 28th, 2012 by Jan

I saw a whale brain yesterday. It was floating in a plexiglass box with fluid and it was cool.

I was lucky enough to have a backdoor, private tour of the Vancouver Aquarium yesterday. I was with a two scientist and an artist. It was fun to listen to the scientist talk.

I enjoy listening to the vocabulary of experts. It doesn’t matter what the topic is, if the speaker knows their stuff, it’s a delight to bathe in new sounds. Words that are familiar to them but foreign to me have a way of rolling off their tongue as easy as one, two, three. I suppose they assume if I didn’t understand something, I’d ask, but in the mean time — when in Rome.

When I speak about Tai Chi or Qigong, I throw around words like dan tien, qi, and bai hui as easily as these scientists spoke of the members of the odontocete superfamily Delphinoidea (dolphins, porpoises, belugas, and narwhals). Anatomy verbiage was also used as if everyone would know about the rostrum and fluke, or that the head contains the melon, a round organ used for echolocation.

When they started talking about the size of the cerebellum on this brain in a box, I really perked up. I recognized a word and held the knowledge that it’s the cerebellum that plays an important role in motor control.

Our host, Lance went on and on about how members of the Delphinoidea family will repeat a task again and again until they learn it. He said it is fun to watch the first few times a dolphin tries some new skill — how it is clumsy and awkward. Then after doing it time and time again, they get good at it!

Practice! Go figure.

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