Archive for the Category: Language acquisition

Babbling

I spent last weekend at my mum’s house, along with my brother, sister-in-law and their one-year old daughter. The last time I saw my niece was at Christmas, when she was making some sounds, but not really babbling much. Now she is babbling away all the time and sometimes says recognisable words, or at least […]

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Also posted in English, Language, Russian 1 Comment

Sound instincts

According to an article I came across today, humans possibly have innate preferences for the sound patterns found in languages which might help babes to distinguish language from non-language and to acquire language. An experiment undertaken by the National Academy of Sciences found that even new born babies show a preference for combinations of phonemes […]

Also posted in Language, Linguistics 11 Comments

Babbling and motherese

Over the past few days I’ve been observing, and to some extent participating, in my niece’s language acquisition. She is 8 months old and babbles a lot to herself and to others. Some of her babbling can sound like possible words, like dada, but they don’t seem to be associated with anything yet. She is […]

Also posted in English, Language, Russian, Words and phrases 1 Comment

Spoken language is a special type of music

According to an article I came across yesterday music might be what enables us to acquire language, and spoken language could be thought of as a special type of music. When acquiring language babies first hear speech as “an intentional and often repetitive vocal performance” and they learn to hear and mimic its emotional and […]

Also posted in Language, Language learning, Music 4 Comments

Ingrown languages

In an interesting book I read recently, What Language Is by John McWhorter, the author discusses why some languages appear a lot more complicated or ‘ingrown’ than others. He gives the example of Persian and Pashto, two Iranian languages spoken in a number of countries in western and central Asia. Whereas Persian has more or […]

Also posted in Arabic, English, Language, Language learning, Spanish 7 Comments

Language evolution

Some interesting experiments on language evolution are being undertaken in the University of Edinburgh’s Language Evolution and Computation Research Unit, and one thing they’ve found is that some aspects of language can develop in an afternoon. They believe that language evolves culturally through being learned and used by people. They have demonstrated aspects of this […]

Also posted in Evolution, Language, Linguistics 8 Comments

Language acquisition

According to a study at UCLA, reported on EurekaAlert!, young children acquiring language benefit most from conversations. Reading them stories and talking to them are also helpful, but two-sided conversations have much stronger effects on their language development. A study of language use in 275 families looked at the affects of conversation, adult monologueing, reading […]

Also posted in Linguistics 4 Comments

Foreign accents

At the moment I’m writing an essay on the acquisition of foreign pronunciation. There seems to be a widespread belief that people who start learning a language at an early age are more likely to speak it with a native accent, while those who learn languages as adults tend to speak them with foreign accents. […]

Also posted in Language, Linguistics, Pronunciation 20 Comments

Language mainly a cultural phenomenon

A report I found the other day suggests that language is most likely to be mainly a cultural phenomenon and that any genetic underpinnings for language probably pre-date the emergence of human language. Researchers in the UK and USA modelled how aspects of language might have been encoded genetically and concluded that this was very […]

Also posted in Evolution, Language, Linguistics Comments Off

Language quiz

Here’s a recording in a mystery language. Do you know or can you guess which language it’s in?

Also posted in Bilingualism, Language 1 Comment