Learning your native language as a child is tricky enough, but learning a second is a labor of love.
Once we have left the golden years of youth, learning new linguistic skills can be a hard-won battle.
Researchers at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to measure the normal resting activity of students’ brains before embarking on a French language course.
The team, led by Xiaoqian Chai and Denise Klein, measured whether differences in connectivity predicted the success of the language students.
The results, published in The Journal of Neuroscience this week, are a tantalizing peek into why some people seem to learn second languages with more ease than others.
If you are planning on learning a second language, the connectivity of your brain at rest might predict how easy, or how difficult, you find it.