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It's Been Said Before

By Orin Hargraves

It's Been Said Before "examines why certain phrases become clichés and why they should be avoided -- or why they still have life left in them."

New from Cambridge University Press!


Sounds Fascinating

By J. C. Wells

How do you pronounce biopic, synod, and Breughel? - and why? Do our cake and archaic sound the same? Where does the stress go in stalagmite? What's odd about the word epergne? As a finale, the author writes a letter to his 16-year-old self.

Academic Paper

Title: Neural Plasticity in Speech Acquisition and Learning
Author: Yang Zhang
Email: click here TO access email
Institution: University of Minnesota
Author: Yue Wang
Email: click here TO access email
Institution: Simon Fraser University
Linguistic Field: Applied Linguistics; Cognitive Science; Language Acquisition; Neurolinguistics; Phonetics
Abstract: Neural plasticity in speech acquisition and learning is concerned with the timeline trajectory and the mechanisms of experience-driven changes in the neural circuits that support or disrupt linguistic function. In this selective review, we discuss the role of phonetic learning in language acquisition, the "critical period" of learning, the agents of neural plasticity, and the distinctiveness of linguistic systems in the brain. In particular, we argue for the necessity to look at brain–behavior connections using modern brain imaging techniques, seek explanations based on measures of neural sensitivity, neural efficiency, neural specificity and neural connectivity at the cortical level, and point out some key factors that may facilitate or limit second language learning. We conclude by highlighting the theoretical and practical issues for future studies and suggest ways to optimize language learning and treatment.


This article appears IN Bilingualism: Language and Cognition Vol. 10, Issue 2.

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