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Speaking American: A History of English in the United States

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Language, Literacy, and Technology

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Academic Paper


Title: Neural Plasticity in Speech Acquisition and Learning
Author: Yang Zhang
Email: click here TO access email
Homepage: http://www.slhs.umn.edu/people/profile.php?UID=zhang470
Institution: University of Minnesota
Author: Yue Wang
Email: click here TO access email
Homepage: http://www.sfu.ca/linguistics/people/faculty/wang.html
Institution: Simon Fraser University
Linguistic Field: Applied Linguistics; Cognitive Science; Language Acquisition; Neurolinguistics; Phonetics
Abstract: Neural plasticity in speech acquisition and learning is concerned with the timeline trajectory and the mechanisms of experience-driven changes in the neural circuits that support or disrupt linguistic function. In this selective review, we discuss the role of phonetic learning in language acquisition, the "critical period" of learning, the agents of neural plasticity, and the distinctiveness of linguistic systems in the brain. In particular, we argue for the necessity to look at brain–behavior connections using modern brain imaging techniques, seek explanations based on measures of neural sensitivity, neural efficiency, neural specificity and neural connectivity at the cortical level, and point out some key factors that may facilitate or limit second language learning. We conclude by highlighting the theoretical and practical issues for future studies and suggest ways to optimize language learning and treatment.

CUP AT LINGUIST

This article appears IN Bilingualism: Language and Cognition Vol. 10, Issue 2, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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