Linguists filter languages for sound before meaning.
Bilingual brains (bottom) react to words differently than monolingual brains (top).
© T. Muente
Bilingual people switch off one language to avoid speaking double Dutch. By first sounding out words in their brains dictionary, they may stop one tongue from interfering with another.
Those fluent in two languages rarely mix them up. They switch between language filters that oust foreign words, Thomas Munte of Otto von Guericke University in Magdeburg, Germany, and his team suggest1.
Say the word
Muntes team examined people fluent in Spanish and Catalan, a language of north-eastern Spain. The subjects picked out real Spanish words from a list of Spanish, Catalan or pseudowords such as amigi.
Common Catalan words produced the same brain activity as uncommon ones in bilinguals. Fluent monolingual readers jump straight from the familiar word dog, to a stored concept of a dog. Bilinguals appear not to access a words meaning before rejecting it.
Bilinguals use a different processing pathway, the team suggests, which sounds out the word first. The fMRI images showed that a brain area involved in spelling out letters is active when rejecting Catalan and pseudowords. The pronunciation rules of Spanish or Catalan might work as a filter, recognizing words in the inappropriate language. Speakers switch filters when they switch between languages.
HELEN PEARSON | © Nature News Service
Lego-like wall produces acoustic holograms
17.10.2016 | Duke University
New evidence on terrestrial and oceanic responses to climate change over last millennium
11.10.2016 | University of Granada
In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
08.12.2016 | Life Sciences
08.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy
08.12.2016 | Materials Sciences