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"Buenos dias", "buenas noches" -- this was the first words in a foreign language I heard in my life, as a three-year old boy growing up in developing post-war Western Germany, where the first gastarbeiters had arrived from Spain. Fascinated by the strange sounds, I tried to get to know some more languages, the only opportunity being TV courses of English and French -- there was no foreign language education for pre-teen school children in Germany yet in those days. Read more

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Subject: Voice and sound processing in the brain
Question: Hello,

How does the brain recognize whether a signal is a voice (and belongs to a language system) or it is a noise? From what age can a young baby gain this ability?

And finally could you please introduce me some books or sources on these topics for additional information?


Reply: Rhythm and other prosodic cues seem to play a core role in speech perception. See e.g. this article, ‘Language discrimination by newborns: toward an understanding of the role of rhythm’, which deals with infant discrimination among different languages:
<a href='http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9627414' target='_blank'>http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9627414</a>; ,

and the chapters collected in this book, _Perceptual development: visual, auditory, and speech perception in infancy_:
<a href='http://www.routledge.com/books/details/9780863778513/' target='_blank'>http://www.routledge.com/books/details/9780863778513/</a>;

Both references are rather dated, but a search for current work by the authors/editors, for example on Google Scholar, may help.


Reply From: Madalena Cruz-Ferreira      click here to access email
Date: 30-Aug-2012
Other Replies:
  1. Re: Voice and sound processing in the brain    Anthea Fraser Gupta     (02-Sep-2012)
  2. Re: Voice and sound processing in the brain    Geoffrey Richard Sampson     (31-Aug-2012)

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