The speech train express: from conscious emission of sound to sustained argument

This is a video timeline depicting speech development milestones in the human and the progressive acquistion of skills from prosody to making a case for yourself!

(based on Sousa, D. A. (2011) How the ELL brain learns.) 
Age Features Video Clip
Birth Responds to prosody
6 Months Phoneme recognition
12 Months Recognises word boundaries
18 Months Attaches meaning to words
24 Months Recognises noun/verb differences
30 Months Recognises other grammatical functions
36 Months Most language activity moves to the left hemisphere

Educators were once opposed to raising children to be bilingual. Experts now say it is beneficial.

When my three sons were born Anglo-Brazilian, the prevailing belief was that bringing them up to be bilingual would set them back educationally and could even do them emotional harm. How times change! Read on to learn Catherine de Lange’s story. (Maria)



By Catherine de Lange, Published: June 11

When I was a baby, my mother gazed down at me in her hospital bed and did something that would permanently change the way my brain developed. Something that would make me better at learning, multi-tasking and solving problems. Eventually, it might even protect my brain against the ravages of old age. Her trick? She started speaking to me in French.

At the time, my mother had no idea that her actions would give me a cognitive boost. She is French and my father English, and they simply felt it made sense to raise me and my brothers as bilingual. Yet a mass of research has emerged to suggest that speaking two languages while growing up may profoundly affect the way I think.

Cognitive enhancement is just the start. According to some studies, my memories, my values, even my personality may change…

View original post 1,432 more words

Are some learners wired to learn languages faster?

Originally posted on BroadyESL: Read “Brain waves predict speed of second language learning” at

Here are some interesting excerpts:

Scientists are discovering that the brain wave patterns that an individual emits when at rest can predict how fast that adult can learn a second language.Although the fastest learner was twice as fast as the slowest, in the end, they both attained the same level of proficiency.

“We’ve found that a characteristic of a person’s brain at rest predicts 60 percent of the variability in their ability to learn a second language in adulthood.”

“By studying individual differences in the brain, we’re figuring out constraints on learning and information processing in hopes of developing ways to improve language learning…”                                                                                                                                                                                           (Prof. Chantel Prat)

Are Some Learners Wired to Learn Languages Faster?

Breno: About being bilingual English and Portuguese

I’m bilingual English and Portuguese. I also speak French, Italian and Spanish.

I consider myself bilingual because I can think in both languages…When I’m talking in Portuguese, I don’t translate from English and then deliver it in Portuguese and vice versa.

How he defines bilingualism:

For me, to be truly bilingual, you can’t have studied it…because it means that you’re always  in your mother language and then translating based on what you’ve learnt. It’s not ‘organic’…I know that sounds a strange word…

Nature, or nurture?

Click this link to view ‘The First Year’ article (Bhattachargee) Which is more important: Nature or Nurture?Photo Shape Editor:

Here are just a few interesting excerpts:

“Hallam Hurt and her team found that children who received more attention and nurturing at home tended to have higher IQs. Children who were more cognitively stimulated performed better on language tasks and those nurtured more warmly dd better on memory tasks.”

“The Philadelphia study (…) 2010, was one of the first to demonstrate that childhood experience shapes the structure of the developing brain. (…) despite coming prewired with mind-boggling capacities, the brain depends heavily on environmental input to write itself further (…) by the interplay between nature and nurture.”