Researchers from McGill University and the Montreal Neurological Institute discovered that the first language we are exposed to has a lasting influence on the way the brain processes the other languages even when the first language is no longer spoken. They studied how the children from diverse linguistic backgrounds processed pseudo-French words and used the functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to observe the parts of their brains that got activated. It was found that the brains of Chinese children who did not speak their first language anymore functioned in the same way as the brains of bilingual children. This has led the researchers to believe that early exposure to a language has an effect on the brain’s ability to adapt to new language environments to master a new language. This finding is likely to enhance the understanding of how the brain adapts to new languages, and help in creating educational practices that take into consideration the learning patterns of children belonging to diverse linguistic backgrounds.
Read more in Science Daily.