Tag: neuroscience

Research Reveals Children’s Linguistic Superpower

A young boy smiling in a hospitla bed, wearing a protective helmet after brain surgery.
Infants and young children have brains with a linguistic superpower, according to Georgetown University Medical Center neuroscientists, who found that unlike adults who use a specific areas in one or the other of their brain’s two hemispheres to process most discrete neural tasks, young children use both the right and left hemispheres to do the same task. This may...

Young Bilingual Brains May Age Better

Girl wearing "Bilingual = Life Square" T-shirt
Bilingual children and adolescents may grow up with more grey matter, according to a new study published in Brain Structure and Function, in which an international team of academics led by the UK’s University of Reading and the U.S. Georgetown University examined detailed scans of children’s and adolescents’ brains and found that bilingual participants had potential advantages of both...

Language Pathway 20 Million Years Older than Previously Thought

Neuroscientists have discovered that the human language pathway in the brain is at least 25 million years old, pushing back its evolutionary origin by at least 20 million years. Previously, a precursor of the language pathway was thought by many scientists to have emerged more recently, about five million years ago, with a common ancestor of both apes and humans. The...

Codeswitching Easier to Turn On

Research into the neurological activity required to switch between languages is providing new insights into the nature of bilingualism. “A remarkable feature of multilingual individuals is their ability to quickly and accurately switch back and forth between their different languages,” explains Esti Blanco-Elorrieta, a New York University doctoral candidate and the lead author of the study, which appears in the...

Early Language Key to School Success

Kim Echart of the University of Washington News reports on a new study which shows that early use of words and grammar determine overall student success A new study indicates that children’s language skills in kindergarten predict their performance in other areas, including math and reading, throughout school. Not only does a child’s use of vocabulary and grammar predict...

You’re Never Too Old to Become Fluent in a Foreign Language

Monika Schmid, University of Essex A new study on second language learning has recently taken the British media by storm. A range of headlines – from the BBC to the Daily Mail and The Guardian – all trumpeted the depressing message that it’s impossible to become fluent in a foreign language after around age ten. All of these reports dramatically...

Massive Study Confirms Teens’ Grammar Expertise

After years of research suggesting that the “critical period” to learn ends before the age of 10, an enormous new study of well over half a million learners suggests that children remain very skilled at learning the grammar of a new language much longer than expected—up to the age of 17 or 18. However, the study also found that...

TESOL Unveils its Six Principles for Exemplary Teaching of English Learners

TESOL International Association has released a “set of universal guidelines drawn from decades of research in language pedagogy and language acquisition theory.” The 6 Principles for Exemplary Teaching of English Learners are “targets for teaching excellence” designed to support any English language instruction program. "TESOL embarked on this project because we recognized the need for a practical, guiding set...

Animals May Have Brains Capable of Language

It has been widely thought that humans learn language using brain components that are specifically dedicated to this purpose. However, new evidence strongly suggests that language is in fact learned in brain systems that are also used for many other purposes, which pre-existed humans and even exist in many animals, say researchers in PNAS...

Bilingualism May Counteract Autism

According to a new study published in Child Development, bilingual children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) are better at switching from one task to another than their monolingual peers. "This is a novel and surprising finding," says Prof. Aparna Nadig, the senior author of the paper, from the School of Communication Sciences and Disorders at Canada’s McGill University. "Over the...
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