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Confirmed by Neuroscience

Journal: Frontiers in Systems of Neuroscience: (2013)  doi: [10.3389/fnsys.2013.00090]

Title: Learning, neural plasticity and sensitive periods: implications for language acquisition, music training and transfer across the lifespan

Authors: White, Hutka, Williams Moreno

This article is about brain plasticity. It examines how and why humans experience periods when learning is easier and quicker that during other periods. It deals with early language and early music learning – their relationship, and cross-over. Of interest to me is the discussion of early language acquisition. The authors survey research on the brain’s plasticity and their discussion confirms:

  • Children lose the ability to hear non-native sounds at around their first birthday and this has “deleterious consequences for processing new stimuli,” that is, learning the sounds of a second language.
  • Children can acquire the sounds after this sensitive period and the best way to accomplish this is explicit training.
  • Learning the sounds only gets harder with time. It is best to do this training as young as possible.

Which, by the way, is what b4 does.

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