The enhancement and pruning of neural networks occurs most apparently as the baby begins to develop language. Spoken languages can sound very different from each other. In all, human languages produce about 200 different spoken sounds, called phonemes. Spoken English contains just over one-sixth of those possible sounds.

A Japanese-language keyboard suggests some of the potential complexity of learning language.
A Japanese-language keyboard suggests some of the potential complexity of learning language.

Brain scans of newborns reveal that in the first few months of life, their brain recognizes the subtle differences in phonemes other than those spoken at home. Japanese infants easily recognize the difference between the sounds made by the letters R and L. However, as the Japanese language has no sound like the letter L, adults raised speaking Japanese lose their ability to distinguish it from the letter R. Similarly, English speakers learning Spanish as adults struggle to separate the subtle sounds of the letters Band P in spoken Spanish.

But babies are able to tell such differences. That’s why it’s far easier to learn a variety oflanguages as a child. However, as infant brains focus on processing the auditory signals of their native languages, starting at about age 11 months they lose their ability to differentiate some nonnative phonemes. Children and adults who learn new languages after having undergone “phoneme contraction” speak with an accent.

These are books for people who want to learn Greek. These books give both parents and children an easy way to study the Greek language with its excellent translation from English to Greek. Greek Books introduce children to the Greek language. Designed for children’s use but anyone can use it. 🇬🇷

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