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The brain remembers languages ​​that we seem to have forgotten in our childhood

Children adopted in other countries have an advantage in adulthood in learning their original language, even if they have not heard it since the day they were born

Adults who were adopted as children at a very tender age in another country do well to learn the language of their motherland. Image: pixabay.
Adults who were adopted as children at a very tender age in another country do well to learn the language of their motherland. illustration: pixabay.

By Jane Hu, the article is published with the approval of Scientific American Israel and the Ort Israel network 16.07.2017

According to new evidence, remnants of the language we were exposed to at a very young age can stay with us even in our adulthood, even if we no longer understand the language itself. Early exposure also seems to speed up language learning later in life.

As part of the new study, Published Recently in the journal Royal Society Open Science, Dutch adults learned to recognize the differences between the sounds of the Korean language. Some of the participants reported that they had never been exposed to the language; Others were born in Korea and adopted by Dutch families before the age of six. All participants said they could not speak Korean, but the adopted participants, who were born in Korea, achieved better both in distinguishing between sounds in Korean and in pronouncing them.

"Learned language can be stored in memory subconsciously, even if there is no conscious memory of the language," says Cheon Choi, the paper's lead author who was then a postdoctoral fellow at Hanyang University in Seoul (and now a researcher at Western Sydney University in Australia). Even short-term early exposure appears to benefit later learning efforts. When Choi and her research partners compared the results achieved by people who were adopted before the age of 6 months and between the results of those who were adopted after the age of 17 months, they found no differences between their hearing and speech abilities.

"It's exciting that this effect is evident even in adults who were only exposed to the Korean language until the age of six months - the age when babies start to babble," says Janet Verker, a professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia, who was not involved in the study. Amazingly, what we learn even before we can speak stays with us for decades.

More of the topic in Hayadan:

One response

  1. Makes sense. Given that native language is encoded in motor memory. Stable memory, as opposed to declarative memory.

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