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"A team at the University of Rochester has found that the human brain makes much more extensive use of highly complex statistics when learning a language than scientists ever realized. The research, appearing in a recent issue of Cognitive Psychology, shows that the human brain is wired to quickly grasp certain relationships between spoken sounds even though those relationships may be so complicated they’re beyond our ability to consciously comprehend.
Newport and Richard Aslin, professor of brain and cognitive sciences, ... wanted to know how it is that we perceive breaks between spoken words, when in fact there are no pauses. This is why it often seems as if speakers of foreign languages are talking very quickly; we don’t perceive pauses. ...."