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Language acquisition

Andreas Baumann, Nikolaus Ritt
Language acquisition and change are thought to be causally connected. We demonstrate a method for quantifying the strength of this connection in terms of the 'basic reproductive ratio' of linguistic constituents. It represents a standardized measure of reproductive success, which can be derived both from diachronic and from acquisition data. By analyzing phonotactic English data, we show that the results of both types of derivation correlate, so that phonotactic acquisition indeed predicts phonotactic change, and vice versa...
March 17, 2018: Cognition
Daniel M Vahaba, Luke Remage-Healey
Steroid hormones, such as estrogens, were once thought to be exclusively synthesized in the ovaries and enact transcriptional changes over the course of hours to days. However, estrogens are also locally synthesized within neural circuits, wherein they rapidly (within minutes) modulate a range of behaviors, including spatial cognition and communication. Here, we review the role of brain-derived estrogens (neuroestrogens) as modulators within sensory circuits in songbirds. We first present songbirds as an attractive model to explore how neuroestrogens in auditory cortex modulate vocal communication processing and learning...
March 16, 2018: Hormones and Behavior
Mona S Khodeir, Mona A Hegazi, Marwa M Saleh
OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to standardize an Egyptian Arabic Pragmatic Language Test (EAPLT) using linguistically and socially suitable questions and pictures in order to be able to address specific deficits in this language domain. PARTICIPANTS AND METHODS: Questions and pictures were designed for the EAPLT to assess 3 pragmatic language subsets: pragmatic skills, functions, and factors. Ten expert phoniatricians were asked to review the EAPLT and complete a questionnaire to assess the validity of the test items...
March 19, 2018: Folia Phoniatrica et Logopaedica
Dexter R F Irvine
Perceptual learning, improvement in discriminative ability as a consequence of training, is one of the forms of sensory system plasticity that has driven profound changes in our conceptualization of sensory cortical function. Psychophysical and neurophysiological studies of auditory perceptual learning have indicated that the characteristics of the learning, and by implication the nature of the underlying neural changes, are highly task specific. Some studies in animals have indicated that recruitment of neurons to the population responding to the training stimuli, and hence an increase in the so-called cortical "area of representation" of those stimuli, is the substrate of improved performance, but such changes have not been observed in other studies...
March 12, 2018: Hearing Research
Aida Kamišalić, David Riaño, Tatjana Welzer
BACKGROUND: In medical practice, long term interventions are common and they require timely planning of the involved processes. Unfortunately, evidence-based statements about time are hard to find in Clinical Practice Guidelines (CPGs) and in other sources of medical knowledge. At the same time, health care centers use medical records and information systems to register data about clinical processes and patients, including time information about the encounters, prescriptions, and other clinical actions...
May 2018: Computer Methods and Programs in Biomedicine
Kednapa Thavorn, Howsikan Kugathasan, Darrell H S Tan, Nasheed Moqueet, Stefan D Baral, Becky Skidmore, Derek MacFadden, Anna Simkin, Sharmistha Mishra
BACKGROUND: Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) with antiretrovirals is an efficacious and effective intervention to decrease the risk of HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) acquisition. Yet drug and delivery costs prohibit access in many jurisdictions. In the absence of guidelines for the synthesis of economic evaluations, we developed a protocol for a systematic review of economic evaluation studies for PrEP by drawing on best practices in systematic reviews and the conduct and reporting of economic evaluations...
March 15, 2018: Systematic Reviews
Mathilde Fort, Imme Lammertink, Sharon Peperkamp, Adriana Guevara-Rukoz, Paula Fikkert, Sho Tsuji
Adults and toddlers systematically associate pseudowords such as "bouba" and "kiki" with round and spiky shapes, respectively, a sound symbolic phenomenon known as the "bouba-kiki effect". To date, whether this sound symbolic effect is a property of the infant brain present at birth or is a learned aspect of language perception remains unknown. Yet, solving this question is fundamental for our understanding of early language acquisition. Indeed, an early sensitivity to such sound symbolic associations could provide a powerful mechanism for language learning, playing a bootstrapping role in the establishment of novel sound-meaning associations...
March 15, 2018: Developmental Science
Natalia Mitrofanova, Marit Westergaard
This paper focuses on the acquisition of locative prepositional phrases in L1 Norwegian. We report on two production experiments with children acquiring Norwegian as their first language and compare the results to similar experiments conducted with Russian children. The results of the experiments show that Norwegian children at age 2 regularly produce locative utterances lacking overt prepositions, with the rate of preposition omission decreasing significantly by age 3. Furthermore, our results suggest that phonologically strong and semantically unambiguous locative items appear earlier in Norwegian children's utterances than their phonologically weak and semantically ambiguous counterparts...
March 15, 2018: Journal of Child Language
Zhizhou Deng, Bharath Chandrasekaran, Suiping Wang, Patrick C M Wong
In second language acquisition studies, the high talker variability training approach has been frequently used to train participants to learn new speech patterns. However, the neuroplasticity induced by training is poorly understood. In the present study, native English speakers were trained on non-native pitch patterns (linguistic tones from Mandarin Chinese) in multi-talker (N = 16) or single-talker (N = 16) training conditions. We focused on two aspects of multi-talker training, voice processing and lexical phonology accessing, and used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to measure brain activation and functional connectivity (FC) of two regions of interest in a tone identification task conducted before and after training, namely the anterior part of the right superior temporal gyrus (aRSTG) and the posterior left superior temporal gyrus (pLSTG)...
March 10, 2018: Neurobiology of Learning and Memory
R Draganova, A Schollbach, F Schleger, J Braendle, S Brucker, H Abele, K O Kagan, D Wallwiener, A Fritsche, H Eswaran, H Preissl
The human fetal auditory system is functional around the 25th week of gestational age when the thalamocortical connections are established. Fetal magnetoencephalography (fMEG) provides evidence for fetal auditory brain responses to pure tones and syllables. Fifty-five pregnant women between 31 and 40 weeks of gestation were included in the study. Fetal MEG was recorded during the presentation of an amplitude modulated tone (AM) with a carrier frequency of 500 Hz to the maternal abdomen modulated by low modulation rates (MRs) - 2/s and 4/s, middle MR - 8/s and high MRs - 27/s, 42/s, 78/s and 91/s...
March 6, 2018: Hearing Research
Philip A Huebner, Jon A Willits
Previous research has suggested that distributional learning mechanisms may contribute to the acquisition of semantic knowledge. However, distributional learning mechanisms, statistical learning, and contemporary "deep learning" approaches have been criticized for being incapable of learning the kind of abstract and structured knowledge that many think is required for acquisition of semantic knowledge. In this paper, we show that recurrent neural networks, trained on noisy naturalistic speech to children, do in fact learn what appears to be abstract and structured knowledge...
2018: Frontiers in Psychology
Steven Moran, Damián E Blasi, Robert Schikowski, Aylin C Küntay, Barbara Pfeiler, Shanley Allen, Sabine Stoll
How does a child map words to grammatical categories when words are not overtly marked either lexically or prosodically? Recent language acquisition theories have proposed that distributional information encoded in sequences of words or morphemes might play a central role in forming grammatical classes. To test this proposal, we analyze child-directed speech from seven typologically diverse languages to simulate maximum variation in the structures of the world's languages. We ask whether the input to children contains cues for assigning syntactic categories in frequent frames, which are frequently occurring nonadjacent sequences of words or morphemes...
March 5, 2018: Cognition
Adam Schembri, Jordan Fenlon, Kearsy Cormier, Trevor Johnston
This paper examines the possible relationship between proposed social determinants of morphological 'complexity' and how this contributes to linguistic diversity, specifically via the typological nature of the sign languages of deaf communities. We sketch how the notion of morphological complexity, as defined by Trudgill (2011), applies to sign languages. Using these criteria, sign languages appear to be languages with low to moderate levels of morphological complexity. This may partly reflect the influence of key social characteristics of communities on the typological nature of languages...
2018: Frontiers in Psychology
Ineke Fengler, Pia-Céline Delfau, Brigitte Röder
It is yet unclear whether congenitally deaf cochlear implant (CD CI) users' visual and multisensory emotion perception is influenced by their history in sign language acquisition. We hypothesized that early-signing CD CI users, relative to late-signing CD CI users and hearing, non-signing controls, show better facial expression recognition and rely more on the facial cues of audio-visual emotional stimuli. Two groups of young adult CD CI users-early signers (ES CI users; n = 11) and late signers (LS CI users; n = 10)-and a group of hearing, non-signing, age-matched controls (n = 12) performed an emotion recognition task with auditory, visual, and cross-modal emotionally congruent and incongruent speech stimuli...
March 5, 2018: Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education
Pilar Sellés, Vicenta Ávila, Tomás Martínez, Liz Ysla
This paper deals with the skills related to the early reading acquisition in two countries that share language. Traditionally on reading readiness research there is a great interest to find out what factors affect early reading ability, but differ from other academic skills that affect general school learnings. Furthermore, it is also known how the influence of pre-reading variables in two countries with the same language, affect the development of the reading. On the other hand, several studies have examined what skills are related to reading readiness (phonological awareness, alphabetic awareness, naming speed, linguistic skills, metalinguistic knowledge and basic cognitive processes), but there are no studies showing whether countries can also influence the development of these skills...
2018: PloS One
Katherine Tan, Mei Chan Chong, Pathmawathy Subramaniam, Li Ping Wong
BACKGROUND: Outcome Based Education (OBE) is a student-centered approach of curriculum design and teaching that emphasize on what learners should know, understand, demonstrate and how to adapt to life beyond formal education. However, no systematic review has been seen to explore the effectiveness of OBE in improving the competencies of nursing students. OBJECTIVE: To appraise and synthesize the best available evidence that examines the effectiveness of OBE approaches towards the competencies of nursing students...
February 5, 2018: Nurse Education Today
Alex Benjamin, Katie Slocombe
Infant-directed speech (IDS) is a special speech register thought to aid language acquisition and improve affiliation in human infants. Although IDS shares some of its properties with dog-directed speech (DDS), it is unclear whether the production of DDS is functional, or simply an overgeneralisation of IDS within Western cultures. One recent study found that, while puppies attended more to a script read with DDS compared with adult-directed speech (ADS), adult dogs displayed no preference. In contrast, using naturalistic speech and a more ecologically valid set-up, we found that adult dogs attended to and showed more affiliative behaviour towards a speaker of DDS than of ADS...
March 2, 2018: Animal Cognition
Lisa D Bunker, Sandra Wright, Julie L Wambaugh
Purpose: Combined Aphasia and Apraxia of Speech Treatment (CAAST) is a newly developed treatment shown to increase production of accurate content in narrative discourse for persons with aphasia and apraxia of speech. The purpose of this post hoc study was to further describe lexical and morphosyntactic changes associated with changes in content production. Method: Existing probe data from 8 persons with aphasia who had completed CAAST were used to complete analyses of morphosyntactic production, lexical diversity, and novelty of content...
March 1, 2018: American Journal of Speech-language Pathology
J Anderson, J Wealleans, J Ray
Computer-aided design (CAD) and computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) technologies can leverage cone beam computed tomography (CBCT) data for production of objects used in surgical and nonsurgical endodontics and in educational settings. The aim of this article is to review all current applications of 3D printing in endodontics and to speculate upon future directions for research and clinical use within the specialty. A literature search of PubMed, Ovid and Scopus was conducted using the following terms: stereolithography, 3D printing, computer aided rapid prototyping, surgical guide, guided endodontic surgery, guided endodontic access, additive manufacturing, rapid prototyping, autotransplantation rapid prototyping, computer aided design (CAD), computer aided manufacturing (CAM)...
February 27, 2018: International Endodontic Journal
Simona Fiori, Carolin Zendler, Till-Karsten Hauser, Karen Lidzba, Marko Wilke
Clinical functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) requires inferences on localization of major brain functions at the individual subject level. We hypothesized that a single "triple use" task would satisfy sensitivity and reliability requirements for successfully assessing the motor, visual and language domain in this context. This was tested here by the application in a group of healthy adults, assessing sensitivity and reliability at the individual subject level, separately for each domain.Our "triple use" task consisted of 2 conditions (condition 1, assessing motor and visual domain, and condition 2, assessing the language domain), serving mutually as active/control...
February 26, 2018: Brain Imaging and Behavior
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