Language is a mechanism inherent to the human being. The ability of language has allowed us to transmit knowledge and evolve as a species. According Chomsky, one of the most recognized linguists today, who has developed a theory of language that has represented a revolution in this area of study, the human being has the innate ability to acquire language.
Thus, Chomsky says that children are born with the ability to receive external stimuli and process them to configure their mind to recognize those sounds that, together, will form words and phrases that will allow you, over the years, to express ideas and feelings easily.
The baby's brain and language acquisition
Along the same lines, Patricia Kuhl, researcher of early language acquisition and brain development, has conducted a study in which it shows that children, since they are babies, filter those sounds that are most familiar to them and that are the ones they will need to know to develop what will be their mother tongue.
These sounds will be different depending on the language your environment speaks. A Japanese child will keep the sounds of the Japanese language in its register, while an American child will record those sounds of English. This occurs because children are exposed to these sounds from the moment they are born.
To demonstrate this, Kuhl conducts an experiment with two one-year-old babies, one who has been raised in an English-speaking environment and another who has been raised in a Japanese-speaking environment, to see what his brain activity is before the different sounds . When analyzing the results it is observed that the Japanese baby does not react to the sounds of English and English does not react to Japanese.
But the curious fact is that, until six months, the recognition of languages in both children was the same and they reacted to the sounds in the same way. It is between six and eight months when the sound recognition curve begins to lean to one or another language.
Kuhl's conclusion is that language acquisition modifies certain areas of the brain that make it easier for children to have more ability to understand sounds as they grow. If children are stimulated in two languages, their ability to recognize sounds will be greater than those of children who are only stimulated in one.
Bilingual children and their ease with languages
This study also explains that language acquisition in children It is vertiginous until the age of seven, at which point the speed at which they learn begins to decrease. The fact that children are exposed to more than one language from the moment they are born, helps them to have more ease in the future to acquire new languages.
It is through this process of sound recognition that babies store a greater amount of recognizable sounds when exposed to a bilingual environment. Thus, as they grow up, they learn both languages much more easily, because they have registered the phonemes they will need to pronounce when they want to deliver a message in one language or another.
In this context, those parents who can provide their children with a bilingual environment will be helping them in the future to develop in more than one language with ease and to learn new languages in less time.
By María José Madarnás, editor of Easy Maternity.