Monthly Archive

Word 'Edges' are Important for Language Acquisition

8th September, 2014

[Source: Science Daily]

Word “edges” are important for language acquisition. Children start to learn the sound of words by remembering the first and last syllables. A SISSA study, published in Child Development, sheds light on the information the infant brain uses during language acquisition and the format in which it stores words in its memory.

If you’re only seven months old, there’s no difference between a “cinema” and a “cimena.”
What infants accurately remember of a word is, in fact, only the first and last syllable. The middle syllables may even be jumbled, but to these little ears this will make virtually no difference. These are the main findings of a study carried out at SISSA and recently published in Child Development that uncovers the early mechanisms of word memory.
Infants start to learn words very early, during the first months of life, and to do so they have to memorise their sounds and associate them with meanings. The study by Silvia Benavides-Varela (now at the IRCCS Fondazione Ospedale San Camillo in Venice, but at SISSA at the time the study was performed) and Jacques Mehler, neuroscientist at SISSA, revealed the format in which infants remember their first words. In particular, the two scientists saw that infants aged about seven months accurately encode the sound and position of the first and last syllable, whereas they have difficulty retaining the order of syllables in the middle.
Read the Rest of this Article on Science Daily

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