Tuesday February 19, 2019

Influencer of Language Skills in Kids Decoded

For comparing the languages, the basic word list and phonemic inventory they used reflect the vocabulary system and sound system in a language, respectively

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Parents often tend to ignore the inner fears of children,  Pixabay

Ever wondered which language of the two — maternal or paternal — has a stronger influence on your child? According to a study, while vocabulary is influenced by the father, the understanding of sounds is derived from the mother.

Mother tongue hypothesis refers to the language usage that follows matrilineal inheritance.

Father tongue hypothesis, on the other hand, refers to the paternal lines that dominate the local language in an already populated region, which was proposed based on genetic and anthropological researches.

The researchers found that in Indo-European populations, the paternal lineages (Y-chromosome) were correlated to the vocabulary (lexicon) of their languages while the maternal lineages were associated with their pronunciations (phoneme).

language skills
For comparing the languages, the basic word list and phonemic inventory they used reflect the vocabulary system and sound system in a language, respectively. Pixabay

The unbalanced correlation between genetics and linguistics can be explained by male-dominant population contact, and the strategy of language learning by local females which is similar to the second language acquisition, said lead author Menghan Zhang from the Carnegie Mellon University in Pennsylvania, US.

For the study, published in the journal National Science Review, the team explored the genetic-linguistic relationship of 34 populations speaking different Indo-European (IE) languages.

They assembled compositions of the Y-chromosomal and mitochondrial DNA haplogroups or paragroups from these IE populations, which reflect paternal and maternal lines, respectively.

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These haplogroups or paragroups were defined using stable mutations so that they were all already formed in the Paleolithic Age (over 10,000 years ago).

For comparing the languages, the basic word list and phonemic inventory they used reflect the vocabulary system and sound system in a language, respectively. (IANS)

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Immersive VR Can Help Kids Overcome Autism Phobias

In a separate study, published in the Autism in Adulthood journal by the same team, the VR treatment was shown to be effective in autistic adults

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Virtual Reality
A hospital patient uses virtual reality treatment for pain in this undated photo. VOA

Exposing children and adults with autism to immersive virtual reality (VR) can help alleviate their fears and phobias, say researchers.

A team from the UK’s Newcastle University developed ‘Blue Room’, a virtual environment, which requires no goggles. Here a person can comfortably investigate and navigate through various scenarios working with a therapist using iPad controls but remain in full control of the situation.

“For many children and their families, anxiety can rule their lives as they try to avoid the situations which can trigger their child’s fears or phobias,” said Professor Jeremy Parr from Newcastle’s Institute of Neuroscience.

“To be able to offer a treatment that works, and see the children do so well, offers hope to families who have very few treatment options for anxiety available to them,” Parr added.

Autism can affect a child’s learning and development, often resulting in impaired social and communication skills and many also have fears or phobias which can be very distressing but are often overlooked.

Inventions
Toybox founder Arlene Mulder views a project that their tech innovation hub was involved in, a Virtual Reality exhibition at a Johannesburg art gallery. VOA

For the study, detailed in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, the team involved a small group of children with autism aged 8-14 years. Half received treatment in the ‘Blue Room’ straight away and half acted as a control group, receiving delayed treatment six months later.

“People with autism can find imagining a scene difficult which is why the ‘Blue Room’ is so well-received. We are providing the feared situation in a controlled way through VR and we are sitting alongside them to help them learn how to manage their fears,” explained Morag Maskey, researcher from Newcastle.

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The results showed that overall 40 per cent of children treated showed improvement at two weeks, and 45 per cent at six months.

In a separate study, published in the Autism in Adulthood journal by the same team, the VR treatment was shown to be effective in autistic adults. (IANS)