How does my brain differentiate the different languages I speak?
Human language is a complex phenomenon, and many different areas of the brain must cooperate together.
Broca’s area and Wernicke’s area are two parts of the brain that we know control speech and language comprehension respectively, but many other areas are involved as well, including the hippocampus and the cerebral cortex.
Recent research has suggested that the brains of people who are bilingual must take extra care to keep the nerve signals related to the different languages separate. They do this by adding extra myelin to insulate the neurons, and it has even been suggested that this might offer some protection from neurodegenerative diseases such as multiple sclerosis.
- I’d like to learn a language, which is the easiest one to pick up?
- What happens in our brain when we learn languages?
- What is the record for the most languages spoken by one person?
- What was the first ever language?
Asked by: Advita Mitté, age 11, Singapore
To submit your questions email us at email@example.com (don't forget to include your name and location)
Luis trained as a zoologist, but now works as a science and technology educator. In his spare time he builds 3D-printed robots, in the hope that he will be spared when the revolution inevitably comes.
May Half Price Sale
- Save up to 52% when you subscribe to BBC Science Focus Magazine.
- Risk - free offer! Cancel at any time when you subscribe via Direct Debit.
- FREE UK delivery.
- Stay up to date with the latest developments in the worlds of science and technology.