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Language acquisition
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If you're a fat man standing with a buddy on a railway bridge, be sure to chat to them in their native tongue.

A University of Chicago psychology study found that people make less emotional moral decisions when acting in a non-native language than when wrestling with dilemmas in their native language. The team think that working in another language forces the user into a more distant relationship with the subject matter. The test involved the famous conundrum of what to do when a runaway trolley is set to kill several railway workers, and only by pushing a fat man onto the tracks can you avert their demise. Those who participated in the test while using a non-native language were more likely to say they'd shove the fat guy to his death to save the workers.

It seems that this is not an argument for the 'Sapir-Whorf' hypothesis that language constrains or even determines thought, rather that the act of working in a language that is not completely familiar puts extra strain on the brain, which blocks more emotional responses.
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Signed and spoken languages are equally complex - including in how their diversity declines. The same arguments also apply - is the rise of standard British Sign Language a good thing in some ways, especially for learners, or is the loss of regional signs a problem? 
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Language acquisition

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New paper on language universals, focusing on syllables. Research has long demonstrated that newborns exhibit a preference for syllables over other sounds units and for certain sequences of segments within those syllables.
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The value of joined-up handwriting: learning to write cursive letters is cognitively more beneficial than practising with print (unjoined) letters, finds a Quebecan study, at a time when most U.S. states are phasing out the teaching of cursive handwriting in favour of keyboard skills. The study reveals that a focus on cursive letters, which are written more quickly than printed ones, leads to better motor skills and spelling. Interestingly, improvements are only seen when joined-up handwriting is taught alone, not alongside or after print writing.
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University of Edinburgh study of English-speaking learners of #Hungarian reports that those who sang phrases rather than speaking them learned better. Hungarian was chosen as a language as dissimilar as practically possible from the students' native language.

What is debatable is how much of it was truly learned rather than memorised in the short-term, and whether an explicit focus on the rhythmic structure of new vocabulary will actually lead to true acquisition of its form, meaning and use.
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At least singing can make you happy, good mood for learning.
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People distinguish syllables they've never heard before according to how universally well- or ill-formed they are, i.e. whether they occur in languages and if so, how frequently. Broca's area, a part of the brain associated with language, registered activity when processing ill-formed syllables, rather than areas associated with memory or motor control.
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Language acquisition

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Young children learn the word for non-solid materials more quickly if they're able to poke, squeeze and throw them. So parents apparently need to allow their kids to get covered in food gunk once in a while.
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Language acquisition

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Worth reading despite the misleading headline (Light Walpiri is a mixed language which combines parts of Walpiri, Kriol and English with its own novel structures). The writer defines 'creole' erroneously here too. The abstract is at http://muse.jhu.edu/login?auth=0&type=summary&url=/journals/language/v089/89.2.o-shannessy.pdf
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Language acquisition

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Do you find that speaking a second language suddenly becomes more difficult if you start to converse with someone who shares your heritage? This research suggests that priming people with faces or images associated with their first culture disrupts their ability to use a second language. In other words, show pictures of the Great Wall of China to an English-speaker from Beijing and you may find that they start to produce more errors, such as naming objects with literal translations from their first language rather than the actual words that they already know.
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Language acquisition

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Research by Dr Cristina Dye (Newcastle) finds that young children's productive use of grammar is more advanced than previously thought. Through use of sensitive microphones, toddlers were shown to softly vocalise words such as indefinite articles and auxiliary verbs which a casual listener might assume were unrealised.
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For those interested in the process of coming to language
Introduction
Language acquisition is the process of how people come to be able to use language to understand information and express themselves appropriately. It is also the name of the academic sub-discipline in linguistics (the scientific study of language) and other language-related fields that are devoted to researching this phenomenon. Linguists study not just how people develop a specific first or subsequent language, but how the system of language itself emerges.

This page is for anyone interested in language acquisition, and is maintained by an academic linguist with some background in the topic. Please feel free to comment on and '+1' its posts!