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Neuron. 2010 Sep 9;67(5):713-27. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2010.08.038.

Brain mechanisms in early language acquisition.

Author information

  • Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195, USA. pkkuhl@u.washington.edu

Abstract

The last decade has produced an explosion in neuroscience research examining young children's early processing of language. Noninvasive, safe functional brain measurements have now been proven feasible for use with children starting at birth. The phonetic level of language is especially accessible to experimental studies that document the innate state and the effect of learning on the brain. The neural signatures of learning at the phonetic level can be documented at a remarkably early point in development. Continuity in linguistic development from infants' earliest brain responses to phonetic stimuli is reflected in their language and prereading abilities in the second, third, and fifth year of life, a finding with theoretical and clinical impact. There is evidence that early mastery of the phonetic units of language requires learning in a social context. Neuroscience on early language learning is beginning to reveal the multiple brain systems that underlie the human language faculty.

2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

PMID:
20826304
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2947444
Free PMC Article

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