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Neuroreport. 1996 Nov 4;7(15-17):2439-44.

Brain processing of native and foreign languages.

Author information

1
INB-CNR, Universities of Milan, Italy.

Abstract

We used positron emission tomography to study brain activity in adults while they were listening to stories in their native language, in a second language acquired after the age of seven, and in a third unknown language. Several areas, similar to those previously observed in monolinguals, were activated by the native but not by the second language. Both the second and the unknown language yielded distinct left-hemispheric activations in areas specialized for phonological processing, which were not engaged by a backward speech control task. These results indicate that some brain areas are shaped by early exposure to the maternal language, and are not necessarily activated by the processing of a second language to which they have been exposed for a limited time later in life.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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