How Language affects a Baby’s Brain

7182540038_b8ab7dcda8_oWe all do it–

It’s the very thing that sets us apart–

Language.

From babies to adults, humans are constantly changing the frequency of words they use, and becoming more adaptable in regards to the ability to communicate. Every day new words are created through different social settings and moods. Language in itself has become a sort of intelligence, shaped and evolved throughout history by our actions.

As early as 12 months, children are able to communicate using simple terms like “mama” or “dada”. According to the Mayo Clinic, this can develop at different rates, faster or lower depending on the individual’s rate of brain development. What is similar, however, is the rate at which the brain wishes to communicate.

According to Provider-Parent Partnerships, a person is born with the amount of brain cells they’ll have for the rest of their lives, but like any other part of the body, the brain must build itself up like a muscle. Nerve cells in the brain, called neurons, must also be built up in order to grow and develop. Language plays a key part in brain

development in children– no matter what stage of development the child is in. According to the Gregory Hickok, regarding the role of mirror neurons in speech and language processing, neurons have not always been thought to play a major role in the motor system or speech production. However, in light of new research though which we’ve discovered mirror neurons, that theory has been rethought.

In Hickok’s article for the January 2010 Elsevier journal, he stated, “This interest has developed primarily around two logically independent, but sometimes conflated, ideas.”

He goes on to say that, “One is that motor systems involved in speech production are critically involved in perceiving speech sounds, an idea that is clearly related to the motor theory of speech perception. The other is that the meaning of action-related words are coded, at least in part, in motor regions that control the execution of those actions.”

Hickok explains that both hypotheses are independent of one another, where one concerns on the neural basis and the phonological form while the other is on a different processing and representation level.

Overall, the neurons may play an important role in speech development and therefore accurately measure where a child is at in regards to development, and where  hey will be over time.

The child is constantly growing and engaging, and it’s with language that the child can truly find his or her own potential. In the end, this may even help indicate how quickly a child can learn more than one language later in life.

 

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