Thursday, February 6, 2020

Brain & Native Language

I was an orphan in China and was adopted by a French family early in my life. Do you think my brain remembers anything about the Chinese language? Could I learn to speak Chinese more easily if I started studying it now?

The results of a study led by Lara Pierce and published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, has provided some interesting conclusions. Three groups were studied: a group born and raised speaking only French; girls who were adopted from Chinese families and stopped speaking any Chinese and learned to speak French; and bilingual girls who spoke both Chinese and French. Study participants listened to fragments of Chinese as their brains were scanned using fMRI. The brain activation pattern of the adopted Chinese who totally discontinued the language, matched the same brain activation pattern as those who had continued speaking Chinese since birth. The brain pattern in the group of French-speaking girls only, was very different. More tomorrow.

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