Thursday, February 10, 2011

Language Links

Without Language Numbers Don't Add Up

This story from National Public Radio shows how groups of people who don't have words or signs in their language for numbers can't actually tell the difference between numbers as small as four and five. It sheds some light on the debate about how language affects how we think.

You can watch this video clip on the National Public Radio site link at the top of the post.

From the story:

In one test, Spaepen (the researcher) would knock her fist against a study participant's fist a certain number of times and then ask them to respond with the same number of knocks.
"If I were to knock four times on their fist, they might knock my fist five times," she says."

What do you think?

 Look Inside a Baby's Brain. Why are They Such Language Geniuses?

Patricia Kuhl discusses her study of language in babies in this 10 minute "TED Talk" She discusses many important concepts in language acquisition such as critical period, babbling, and the importance of children interacting with real adults (not TVs or computer screens) to learn language. She also show the use of MEG (magneto-electroencephalography) imaging to see what parts of a baby's brain activate when hearing language.

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