Language/culture/mind/brain: Progress at the margins between disciplines

Patricia K. Kuhl, Feng Ming Tsao, Huei-Mei Liu, Yang Zhang, Bart De Boer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

33 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

At the forefront of research on language are new data demonstrating infants' strategies in the early acquisition of language. The data show that infants perceptually "map" critical aspects of ambient language in the first year of life before they can speak. Statistical and abstract properties of speech are picked up through exposure to ambient language. Moreover, linguistic experience alters infants' perception of speech, warping perception in a way that enhances native-language speech processing. Infants' strategies are unexpected and unpredicted by historical views. At the same time, research in three additional disciplines is contributing to our understanding of language and its acquisition by children. Cultural anthropologists are demonstrating the universality of adult speech behavior when addressing infants and children across cultures, and this is creating a new view of the role adult speakers play in bringing about language in the child. Neuroscientists, using the techniques of modern brain imaging, are revealing the temporal and structural aspects of language processing by the brain and suggesting new views of the critical period for language. Computer scientists, modeling the computational aspects of childrens' language acquisition, are meeting success using biologically inspired neural networks. Although a consilient view cannot yet be offered, the crossdisciplinary interaction now seen among scientists pursuing one of humans' greatest achievements, language, is quite promising.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)136-174
Number of pages39
JournalAnnals of the New York Academy of Sciences
Volume935
Publication statusPublished - 2001 Jan 1

Fingerprint

Brain
Language
Speech processing
Linguistics
Neural networks
Imaging techniques
Processing
Mind-brain
Child Language
Speech Perception
Research
Neuroimaging

Keywords

  • Artificial intelligence
  • Brain imaging
  • Brain plasticity
  • Informatics
  • Language development
  • Linguistic experience
  • Motherese
  • Speech perception

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • History and Philosophy of Science

Cite this

Language/culture/mind/brain : Progress at the margins between disciplines. / Kuhl, Patricia K.; Tsao, Feng Ming; Liu, Huei-Mei; Zhang, Yang; De Boer, Bart.

In: Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, Vol. 935, 01.01.2001, p. 136-174.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Kuhl, Patricia K. ; Tsao, Feng Ming ; Liu, Huei-Mei ; Zhang, Yang ; De Boer, Bart. / Language/culture/mind/brain : Progress at the margins between disciplines. In: Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. 2001 ; Vol. 935. pp. 136-174.
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