What’s Up With That: Why It’s So Hard to Lose An Accent

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Published Date: 
2014, September 30
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“You start learning language by picking up sounds, trying to imitate your parents,” explained Eric Baković, a linguist who studies sound patterns in language at UC San Diego, but was unaffiliated with either study. “Then, your brain gets busy doing other things and assumes you have learned all the sounds you need to learn to communicate with the people around you.” This library of sounds enables us to communicate fluently and stay abreast of the language as it evolves (language sounds are constantly changing, think of the vocal fry that’s recently crept into American English), but makes us effectively deaf to sounds that fall outside it, says Baković.