There is increasing evidence suggesting that there are maturational and developmental sequences sensitive to the acoustic and linguistic environment to a different extent. The interaction of linguistic experience as well as the brain maturation and development can be best studied by various methods used in neuroscience. Research in developmental neuroscience focuses on infancy as well as on the first 5-6 years of age, the period when the developing brain is best able to absorb language, basically any language. Although the repertoire of speech sounds is uniquely processed by the brain from early on, the neural processes giving rise to brain activity changes are not exactly the same as those recorded in adults. As they grow, children get effective in sorting out speech sounds (phonemes) as building blocks used for composing words and in segmenting the acoustic flow into words by relying on rules and regularities. The review focuses on the developmental changes in processing segmental and suprasegmental cues of spoken utterances and gives an overview of the recent results of developmental cognitive neuroscience of this field. The analysis includes some relevant results of the Mismatch Negativity research and imaging data in order to describe the most important periods of fundamental processes during language development. Recent results on the dynamic functional and structural changes of the developing brain are also discussed as possible approach to understanding the neural code of development determining new periods in interaction with the linguistic environment
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.