Mandarin Is Like Music to the Brain
New research on Mandarin Chinese challenges the knowledge that language is simply processed in the left side of the brain, while music is processed in the right side of the brain.
According to a UC Irvine press release, UCI researcher Fan-Gang Zeng and Chinese colleagues looked at several brain scans of subjects as they listened to spoken Mandarin, and discovered that the brain first processes the pitch or music of the word in the right hemisphere, then the meaning or semantics in the left hemisphere.
The study can be found online in ‘Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.’ Due to its musical nature and various ranges in tone, Mandarin has now not only put research into question but has also explained why people who use auditory prosthetic devices have a harder time understanding the language. ‘Most cochlear implant devices lack the ability to register large tonal ranges, which is why these device users have difficulty enjoying music