We are born with grammar in our heads. As soon as possible, we need to learn to speak. With age, the channel for intuitive language perception closes, as research confirms.
We are born with a grammatical system in our heads.
How does the brain perceive grammar? The famous modern linguist Noam Chomsky believes that this ability is innate, while other scientists believe that we build phases and sentences based on our experience. What do experiments show?
In the last century, Noam Chomsky suggested that the ability to speak any language is innate. According to this hypothesis, grammatically correct sentences have sequences of words that correspond to some abstract structures that exist in our minds, helping us to recognize linguistic expressions.
According to Chomsky's theory of universal grammar, fundamental grammatical principles are innate and unchangeable. All people use their innate language system. The interaction between this system and an external stimulus such as external communication allows the child's brain to distinguish the specific properties of a particular language and apply this universal system to the perception of that language. Thanks to this innate system, children are able to quickly learn the language. However, children lose this ability as they get older. The linguist believes that understanding a language depends not so much on experience as on the number of grammatical structures available that help children learn new grammar using external speech. Why only children have the opportunity to learn native or foreign languages using the mechanism of universal grammar is still unknown.
Neuroscientists from New York University, Peking University and the Max Planck Society tried to understand what happens in the brain when he distinguishes between linguistic units. The goal of the researcher was to determine how the brain distinguishes between different levels of linguistic organization: words, phrases and sentences. Subjects heard multiple words, phrases, and sentences that made sense or didn't make sense; During this time, researchers measured the activity of various neural models associated with speech recognition. Neurophysiologists identified the actions of certain models, each of which was associated with the perception of specific levels of a linguistic unit (words, phrases and sentences). The study showed that the neuronal system isSimultaneously analyzes all three levels of phrases, reflecting the natural hierarchy in our neural processing of linguistic structures. Scientists believe these results support Chomsky's hypothesis that we are born with an innate grammatical system that is used to process languages.
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The sooner you start teaching your child a language (second, third, sixth), the faster and easier he will learn it.
Do not be alarmed if at first he will confuse languages and speak them mixed, interfering with words and grammatical constructions are the best sign that everything is assimilated at a subconscious level. My friends in a bilingual family are now faced with a similar story: a child from 2 years old speaks Russian and English at the same time, and if he finds himself only in a Russian company or only in English, he instantly chooses the desired language.
It is better to learn a second language from the first years of life. I will try to explain from the standpoint of neurophysiology.
In children, the areas of the brain that process speech and visual images still overlap. That is, it is easier for children to learn the language. In adults, specialization occurs, and both types of information are processed in different areas of the brain.
Broca's speech area is located in the frontal lobes of the cerebral cortex. If an adult learns a second language, an additional section is formed in it (in addition to the main one, occupied by the native language). If the child grows up in a bilingual environment, both languages use the same areas. And the caudate nucleus (a special collection of nerve cells) controls which speech system in the brain is used.
That is, you need to be in time until the brain systems responsible for speech are not fully formed.
Since many of my relatives have had children in another country, I can say that knowing two or more languages from the cradle is very cool. The child already grows up with the understanding that there is more than one language, he switches between languages without problems, feels the difference and at the same time does not experience the difficulties of "translating in his head." My nephews, children of my parents' friends, etc. were born in another country and from the first words they could speak two languages, they could start a phrase in English, and when they saw that a Russian-speaking one was approaching them, they could finish it in Russian without straining at all. The brain works differently, which will help not only in learning other languages.
It is better to teach from the moment he speaks. From a very early age, my parents showed me cartoons in two, sometimes even three different languages, taught different alphabets, and so on. Now I know 4 languages, 3 of them - thanks to the efforts of my parents. The most interesting thing is that I don't even remember how it happened. But I speak without an accent and write competently in three different languages, but I don't remember the hard work and effort to achieve this.