Adoptees' 'lost language' from infancy triggers brain response
Children don't consciously remember Chinese, but their brains still react to it, fMRI shows
Brain scans show that children adopted from China as babies into families that don't speak Chinese still unconsciously recognize Chinese sounds as language more than a decade later.
"It was amazing to see evidence that such an early experience continued to have a lasting effect," said Lara Pierce, lead author of the study published today in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, in an email to CBC News.
"If you actually test these people in Chinese, they don't actually know it," said Denise Klein, a researcher at McGill University's Montreal Neurological Institute who co-authored the paper.
But their brains responded to Chinese language sounds the same way as those of bilingual children raised in Chinese-speaking families.