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Lost Languages Remain with Children

25 NOV 2014
Career Path : Education News

Cute newborn baby serie with pastel bokeh filter

Montreal’s Neurological Institute and McGill’s Department of Psychology recently partnered together to study the effects of lost languages on the brain.

Subjects were 48 girls ages 9-17. Three groups were tested: girls who had been born in Montreal speaking French, Chinese-born children who were adopted into French families and did not remember the Chinese language and a third group that was fluent in both Chinese and French.

As each girl was given an MRI, Chinese language was played for them. What the results showed was that the area of the brain that processes languages was active even in subjects who could not speak Chinese. These brain activities matched those of girls who were fluent in both French and Chinese. Researchers suggest these brain patterns are formed in the first 5 months of life.

This suggests that the brain continues to process a language known to us, even when we can no longer speak it. “Lost” first languages, though unspoken, are not lost to our brains.

Source: Education News