Special Viewpoints

Language Acquisition and Brain Development

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Science  04 Nov 2005:
Vol. 310, Issue 5749, pp. 815-819
DOI: 10.1126/science.1113530

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Language acquisition is one of the most fundamental human traits, and it is obviously the brain that undergoes the developmental changes. During the years of language acquisition, the brain not only stores linguistic information but also adapts to the grammatical regularities of language. Recent advances in functional neuroimaging have substantially contributed to systems-level analyses of brain development. In this Viewpoint, I review the current understanding of how the “final state” of language acquisition is represented in the mature brain and summarize new findings on cortical plasticity for second language acquisition, focusing particularly on the function of the grammar center.

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