A couple of news items of linguistic interest:
1) The NY Times yesterday had an interesting article by Michael Erard about kids’ slips of the tongue:
“Not by the hair of my chinny chin chin,” the three little pigs taunted the big bad wolf. When Anna Van Valin was 4 years old, she pronounced the phrase “not by the chair of my hinny hin hin” and unwittingly advanced the study of children’s language when she did.
Anna’s talk was often observed. Her mother, Dr. Jeri Jaeger, is a linguist at the State University of New York at Buffalo who collects the speech slips that children make in order to understand how they learn language. For two decades Dr. Jaeger has collected data wherever she found available children…
…Dr. Jaeger said: “Many parents get freaked out and think their child is making mistakes. But these slips of the tongue are entirely normal. In fact, they show that a child is acquiring language as they should be.”
2) BBC News says Learning languages ‘boosts brain’:
Researchers from University College London studied the brains of 105 people – 80 of whom were bilingual.
They found learning other languages altered grey matter – the area of the brain which processes information – in the same way exercise builds muscles.
People who learned a second language at a younger age were also more likely to have more advanced grey matter than those who learned later, the team said…
Makes a good follow-up to the native-speaker/second-language thread. (And thanks to my favorite Kansas correspondent for sending me the story!)