Source Pravda.Ru

Children set new rules in studying languages

Children's brains are hard-wired to learn languages and, in some cases, to improve upon them.

That's the conclusion of a new study that followed several generations of deaf Nicaraguan children as they created their own sign language and then continuously tinkered it with each new group of signers.

"These &to=http://english.pravda.ru/fun/2001/08/27/13477.html' target=_blank>children are actually creating language. This was a rare opportunity to discover a new language as it's emerging," said study author Ann Senghas, an assistant professor of psychology at Barnard College of Columbia University in New York City.

As each generation learned the sign language, they modified it. The more they changed the original "Nicaraguan Sign Language" (NSL), the more its rules and structure resembled those of other languages, the researchers found, reports Forbes.

According to New Scientist, "Our findings indicate that children have a learning mechanism with a bias towards linear and hierarchical organisation of information," says Sotaro Kita at the University of Bristol, UK, and one of the team. "It may tell us why languages all have this linear, hierarchical organisation of information."