Speaking Chinese may take more brainpower than speaking English, a study suggests.
Researchers in Britain have found that people who speak Mandarin Chinese use both sides of their brain to understand the language.

This compares to English-language speakers who only need to use one side of their brain.
The researchers said the findings could boost understanding of how the brain processes languages.
This, in turn, could one day help scientists to develop better ways of helping people to re-learn languages after a stroke or similar damage to the brain.
Dr Sophie Scott and colleagues at the Wellcome Trust carried out brain scans on a group of Mandarin and English speakers.

They found that the left temporal lobe, which is located by the left temple, becomes active when English speakers hear English.

The researchers believe that this area of the brain links speech sounds together to form individual words.
They expected similar findings when they carried out scans on Mandarin speakers.
However, they found that both their left and right temporal lobes become active when they hear Mandarin.
"People who speak different sorts of languages use their brains to decode speech in different ways," said Dr Scott.
"It overturned some long-held theories."
Mandarin is a notoriously difficult language to learn. Unlike English, speakers use intonation to distinguish between completely different meanings of particular words.
For instance, the word "ma" can mean mother, scold, horse or hemp depending on how it is said.
The researchers believe that this need to interpret intonation is why Mandarin speakers need to use both sides of their brain.

The right temporal lobe is normally associated with being able to process music or tones.
"We think that Mandarin speakers interpret intonation and melody in the right temporal lobe to give the correct meaning to the spoken words," said Dr Scott.
"It seems that the structure of the language you learn as a child affects how the structure of your brain develops to decode speech.

"Native English speakers, for example, find it extraordinarily difficult to learn Mandarin."
Dr Scott said the findings could help scientists to understand how the brain learns language.
It could be particularly useful in trying to understand how it re-learns language after a stroke.
She suggested it could also lead to new drugs to help people who have lost their language skills.
"There is evidence from other studies that certain drugs affect learning in the brain regions that support hearing and speech," she said.

"This is something we can improve on."
Dr William Marslen-Wilson, of the MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit at Cambridge University, welcomed the study.
"It is an interesting finding," he told BBC News Online.

"Looking at languages that are very different from each other helps us to understand how the brain processes language.
"It can also help us to understand language rehabilitation," he said.

"This field is really opening up but it is very early days."

The findings will be included in the summer science exhibition at the Royal Society in London, which runs from 1 to 3 July.

Story from BBC
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/health/3025796.stm

Published: 2003/06/30 00:25:31 GMT
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Thus spake MC:
(Snip copyrighted story)
Story from BBC http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/health/3025796.stm Published: 2003/06/30 00:25:31 GMT

Don't you think it's about time you stopped posting copyrighted material (i.e. someone else's property) to Usenet? Post a link to the story and a summary instead.

Simon R. Hughes
Thus spake MC: (Snip copyrighted story)

Story from BBC http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/health/3025796.stm Published: 2003/06/30 00:25:31 GMT

Don't you think it's about time you stopped posting copyrighted material (i.e. someone else's property) to Usenet? Post a link to the story and a summary instead.

Don't you think it's time you stopped reacting to everything I post with a putdown of some kind?
Site Hint: Check out our list of pronunciation videos.
Thus spake MC:
Thus spake MC: (Snip copyrighted story) Don't you think it's ... Post a link to the story and a summary instead.

Don't you think it's time you stopped reacting to everything I post with a putdown of some kind?

Don't exaggerate.

Simon R. Hughes
This compares to English-language speakers who only need to use one side of their brain.

And some, neither side!

Dena Jo
(Email: Replace TPUBGTH with denajo2)
Thus spake MC: (Snip copyrighted story) Don't you think it's ... Post a link to the story and a summary instead.

Don't you think it's time you stopped reacting to everything I post with a putdown of some kind?

Seriously, though, MC, this is just my opinion here, and we all like and respect you as friends and brethren, but I don't see the point in posting a gazillion journalistic news articles every day. They do not promote useful and happy discussion, one. I would suggest maybe posting a quotation*, a brief one, from such an article, and maybe incorporating it into a posting written *by you designed to promote a useful and happy discussion.
Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?
Don't you think it's time you stopped reacting to everything I post with a putdown of some kind?

Seriously, though, MC, this is just my opinion here, and we all like and respect you as friends and brethren, ... an article, and maybe incorporating it into a posting written by you designed to promote a useful and happy discussion.

Fine. No problem. I'll be happy to comply with this request. I clearly misjudged the mood of the group on this matter. And I thank you for not leaping down my throat in the manner of so many of my other friends and brethren.
Thus spake MC:

Don't you think it's time you stopped reacting to everything I post with a putdown of some kind?

Don't exaggerate.

From http://www.bbc.co.uk/terms / :
"Use of BBCi
You may not copy, reproduce, republish, download, post, broadcast, transmit or otherwise use BBCi content in any way except for your own personal, non-commercial use."
Personally, I would infer the use to be personal and non-commercial.

It wouldn't hurt you to be a tad less persnickety, plus, the matter is clearly none of your business.
RW
From http://www.bbc.co.uk/terms / : "Use of BBCi You may not copy, reproduce, republish, download, post, broadcast, transmit or otherwise use BBCi content in any way except for your own personal, non-commercial use." Personally, I would infer the use to be personal and non-commercial.

I'm not familiar with the terms used in UK copyright law, but in the US I'd expect such a notice to have said "private" rather than "personal". If the same notion is meant, I'd expect that posting it to a public newsgroup like this would be considered either a publication or public performance here and not covered by such a license.

Evan Kirshenbaum + HP Laboratories >There's been so much ado already
1501 Page Mill Road, 1U, MS 1141 >that any further ado would bePalo Alto, CA 94304 >excessive.

(650)857-7572
http://www.kirshenbaum.net /
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