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Friday, October 5, 2007

Mandarin Language Is Music To The Brain

From Science Daily:

Science Daily
It’s been shown that the left side of the brain processes language and the right side processes music; but what about a language like Mandarin Chinese, which is musical in nature with wide tonal ranges?

UC Irvine researcher Fan-Gang Zeng and Chinese colleagues studied brain scans of subjects as they listened to spoken Mandarin. They found that the brain processes the music, or pitch, of the words first in the right hemisphere before the left side of the brain processes the semantics, or meaning, of the information.

In the English language, Zeng says, changes in pitch dictate the difference between a spoken statement and question, or in mood, but the meaning of the words does not change. This is different in Mandarin, in which changes in pitch affect the meaning of words.

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