Directors: Antonio M. Battro and Kurt W. Fischer
Program officer: María Lourdes Majdalani
Second language learning in a globalized world: reading and listening
In a globalized world, individuals have been increasingly motivated to learn and use English as a second language (L2). Fundamental breakthroughs in the neuroscience can shed new light on the neural basis of L2 learning and help to develop effective and efficient methods for teaching L2. The available evidence indicates that L1 and L2 are processed by the same neural mechanisms, and that neural differences in L1 and L2 are only related to specific processing demands or strategy uses. Importantly, L2 learning can be influenced by linguistic differences between L1 and L2, such as phonological unit, rhythm in speech and grammar. Here, we investigated relationships between cognitive skills and L2 proficiency of reading, when L1 (Japanese) and L2 (English) are dramatically different, using behavioural and neuroimaging techniques (fMRI). The results suggest that phonological skills in L2, rather than in L1, play important role in L2 learning to read. Furthermore, a future research on L2 learning to listen will be discussed.