"It is true, and thus the question of whether it is sad or happy has no meaning whatever."
Bernhard Schlink

Science is best when discussed: leave your thoughts and ideas in the comments!!

Thursday, May 06, 2004

Language Lab 

The [possibly unique] human ability to learn and process language is, I'd say, our most important strength. It's well established that we process language innately, having some sort of 'language instinct.' Kids deprived of language stimulation from parents make up their own. We know language happens, but the questions in research now are how, and when, and where in the brain.

Some answers may come from a recent study published by a University of Rochester team. Examining how adults and children parse language sounds (made up words), they've found that the brain seems to do all kinds of high-level statistical analysis of those sounds, unconsciously, between the ear and conscious mind. Foreign languages always sound like they're being spoken very fast, because the non-speaker is not attuned to where the breaks should occur and how words sound. However, with experience, the brain learns to break up the constant stream of sounds into understandable (or at least distinguishable) bits: words and phrases. This new theory of how is most interesting.

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