Archive for the Category: Language acquisition

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 on Language mainly a cultural phenomenon

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

Mimetic bootstrapping

Yesterday I went to an interesting talk on Japanese mimetic words, which are onomatopoeia (擬声語 giseigo / 擬音語 giongo) or words connected to actions, emotions or states (擬態語 gitaigo). For example, くすくす (kusu kusu) – to giggle,ぐずぐず[する] (guzu guzu [suru]) – to procrastinate or dawdle. Researchers in Japan have found that Japanese mothers use a […]

Also posted in English, Japanese, Language, Linguistics 5 Comments

Adjusting to a new language environment

Research undetaken at Michigan State University has found that girls can find it more difficult than boys to adjust to a new social and linguistic environment, according to an article on Science Daily. The study was of 3-6 year olds at an international school in Beijing where the children, from 16 different countries, are in […]

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Baby talk

Our brains are wired to recognise repeated auditory and visual patterns, an ability that possibly evolved as a way to detect the non-random sounds made by predators, and which is also used in language acquisition. According to a report on, researchers from Canada, Chile and Italy have done studies of newborn babies in Canada […]

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Reading baby

According to an blog post I found today, teaching a baby sign language can help him or her to learn to read at an very early age. The post is about a 17 month old girl who can read, as she demonstrates on the video embedded in the post. Her parents, who are both Speech […]

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Soaking up languages like a sponge

A report I found today talks about a school in Seattle called sponge which aims to teach babies and children four languages – Spanish, Mandarin, French and Japanese – through play, songs, stories, etc. They have teachers who are native speakers of the languages they teach and take children from as young 5 months and […]

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Word of the day – lullaby

Lullabies, from the Middle English lullen, to lull, + bye, are soothing songs usually sung to babies to lull them to sleep. An alternative name is berceuse, from the French for lullaby or “cradle song”. According to an article I found today, lullabies are not only a good way to get babies to sleep, but […]

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

30,000 words a day

According to a study undertaken by Infoture, children who at least 30,000 words a day from their parents and other people around are likely to excel academically as they grow up. The study found that children who heard at least 33 million words (30,000 a day) from birth the age of 3 tend to have […]

Also posted in Language 7 Comments

Tuning into language

Language and music appear to be processed in the same parts of our brains, according to the results of research undertaken at Georgetown University Medical Center. The research suggests that one part of the brain in the temporal lobes helps us to memorise information such as words and meanings in language and melodies in music. […]

Also posted in Language, Music 2 Comments
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