Sunday, October 26, 2008

Some people better language learners?   posted by Razib @ 10/26/2008 05:23:00 PM

Well, I assume most people probably accept that some people are better than average at learning languages, while others are not as good. But the reasons for this aren't quite clear. PNAS has a paper out on this topic, Brain potentials to native phoneme discrimination reveal the origin of individual differences in learning the sounds of a second language. I find the ScienceDaily summary comprehensible, and one of the researchers says:
"Therefore, these results show that there is a positive correlation between specific speech discrimination abilities and the ability to learn a second language, which means that the individual ability to distinguish the specific phonemes of the language, both in the case of the mother tongue and in the case of other languages, is, without a doubt, a decisive factor in the learning process, and the ability to speak and master other languages," concludes Begona Diaz.