A Special Place for Blog Lovers with a Touch of Science!

Enjoy our special posts in the fields of Earth & Planetary Sciences (EPS Blog) and Social Sciences & Arts (SSA Blog)

A Special Place for Blog Lovers with a Touch of Science!

How can infants learn about sounds in their native language?

Credit: Getty images

Research shows that contexts in which sounds occur may shape ability to interpret acoustic differences

Infants can differentiate most sounds soon after birth, and over the following months, they become language-specific listeners. But researchers are still trying to understand how babies recognize "contrastive" sounds, a linguistics term that describes differences between speech sounds that can change meaning. For example, changing the "b" sound in "ball" to a "d" sound makes the word "doll."

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Studies into bilingual cognition could help improve language learning

In one experiment, people who spoke more than one language or dialect demonstrated greater executive control abilities - which include inhibition, working memory and cognitive flexibility - than monolinguals. Image credit - Jessica Lewis/Unsplash

Speaking more than one language could enhance mental abilities

Bilingual people can effortlessly switch between languages during everyday interactions. But beyond its usefulness in communication, being bilingual could affect how the brain works and enhance certain abilities. Studies into this could inform techniques for learning languages and other skills.

More than half of people in Europe speak more than one language while the same is true worldwide.

Switching between languages can be thought of as a form of mental exercise where attention is focussed on the relevant language while intrusions from the second language are suppressed. 'There is a lot of research that shows that when bilinguals speak in one of their languages, the other language is still active,' said Dr. Kyriakos Antoniou, a psycholinguist at the University of Cyprus.

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