【TED】是一个会议的名称,它是英文technology,entertainment, design三个单词的首字母缩写。它是社会各界精英交流的盛会,这里有当代最杰出的思想家,这里有当代最优秀的科学家,这里有迸发着最闪耀的思想火花,这里孕育着最光辉的梦想。
Patricia Kuhl
Patricia Kuhl studies how we learn language as babies, looking at the ways our brains form around language acquisition.


six-eight months
So what we're seeing here is changing our models of what the critical period is about. We're arguing from a mathematical standpoint that the learning of language material may slow down when our distributions stabilize. It's raising lots of questions about bilingual people. Bilinguals must keep two sets of statistics in mind at once and flip between them, one after the other, depending on who they're speaking to. So we asked ourselves, can the babies take statistics on a brand new language? And we tested this by exposing American babies who'd never heard a second language to Mandarin for the first time during the critical period. We knew that, when monolinguals were tested in Taipei and Seattle on the Mandarin sounds, they showed the same pattern. Six-eight months, they're totally equivalent. Two months later, something incredible happens. But the Taiwanese babies are getting better, not the American babies. What we did was expose American babies during this period to Mandarin. It was like having Mandarin relatives come and visit for a month and move into your house and talk to the babies for 12 sessions. Here's what it looked like in the laboratory.
所以,我们在这儿看到的是关键期如何改变我们的语言模式。我们从数学角度讨论,当我们语言分布的能力趋于稳定时,学习语言材料的能力会放慢下来。这也引出很多关于双语者的问题。双语者在脑中同时必须记住2组统计,并根据他们在与谁交流而任意切换。 那么我们自问,婴儿能不能统计一种全新的语言?我们测试了这个,通过给美国婴儿听他们从没听过的第二种语言。这是在关键期时他们第一次听到普通话。我们得知,当我们让台北和西雅图的单语者接触普通话声音,他们显示同样的模式。在6到8个月大时他们辨音能力几乎相同。2个月之后,一些不可思议的事情发生了。但这次台湾婴儿表现好,而不是美国的婴儿。我们所做的是在这关键期让美国的婴儿多接触普通话。这就好像说普通话的亲戚来拜访了一个月,住到你家,和婴儿上了12节普通话课。在实验室,它看起来就像这样。