The Elasticity Of Babies And Children 's Brains

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Infants have an incredible mind in that they have the ability to learn and master a language in a relatively quick matter of time. The elasticity of babies and children’s brains is remarkable. It has been quite astonishing to watch my eleven month old niece grow and learn as she studies the things that my family and I say and do. She understands a range of words and sentences even though she is not able to actually articulate them yet. Soon she will be going from a blabbering mumbo jumbo speaking baby to being able to annunciate clear, complex words and sentences in only a matter of years. Neuroscientists are now able to paint a picture of the transitional period of what happens in a baby’s brain during this learning process. When a baby is born, the brain can recognize about 800 sounds, called phonemes. These sounds arrange all the words in every language around the world. When the baby grows from six to twelve months, they enter what neuroscientists call a “sensitive period,” in which the brain is prepared to assemble the first basic lessons of language. The infant’s brain is most susceptible to learning the sounds of their language at six months for vowels and at nine months for constants. Research shows that the sensitive period only lasts but a few months but can be stretched for a longer period of time if the child is exposed to a second language. On average, a child’s brain contains the elasticity to be able to learn a second language with articulacy until they
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