Lucy’s Lullaby: How losing our grip 3 million years ago may have set us on the path to language

It was dark when the pain began, I remember that much. I blinked half-awake into an unfamiliar room, wrenched too quickly from the depth of sleep. Consciousness was reluctant, and slow in coming. The glow of the small digital clock said 2 a.m. The pain faded and sleep tugged at me. I was only just at the surface, still within its grasp. I drifted, remembering combinations of the last words I’d heard or perhaps dreamed, “Get some sleep, as much as you can. It will be the last for a long time.”… Read More

The Bilingual Brain

 late learners benefit, too   Speaking a second language has many obvious practical advantages when it comes to communicating with the wider world. But the question of whether bilingualism confers consistent cognitive benefits, such as better memory or better problem-solving skills, is a topic of much discussion and debate in the fields of psychology and neuroscience.  Some studies show distinct advantages, others not so much. But when we look at the effects of bilingualism on the structure of the brain itself, something is definitely going on.  Moreover, learning a second language seems to help protect the brain as it… Read More