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Comment on Is Language a Window into Human Nature?

Wildcat Sun, Jun 22, 2008
a current article in Cognitive daily proposes that music may help us learn language and maybe offer a glimpse into a richer form of learning.

"One of the first steps to learning a language is figuring out where one word ends and the next one begins. Since fluent speakers don't generally pause between words, it can be a daunting task. We've discussed one of the ways people do it in this post — they focus in on consonant sounds. Other researchers have found that we also focus on the statistical properties of language.

Certain syllables are likely to follow each other within individual words, but unlikely to follow each other between words. Take the phrase "between words." In English, within a single word we're much more likely to hear bet followed by ween than ween followed by wor.

Researchers have found that if you make up nonsense words like gimysi and mimosi and play a constant stream of these words to listeners, the listeners will eventually figure out the boundaries of the words based solely on the statistical properties of the words."

read the rest here