“Languages can differ in what sounds they use and how they organize words to form sentences. However, all languages include the process of combining words to express complex thoughts, ”explained lead author of the article, doctoral student Sarah Phillips.
In the course of the study, scientists concluded that the human brain uses the same neural mechanism when combining words to express complex thoughts as well as combining words from two different languages. At the same time, languages differ in both phonetics and linguistics.
Professor of the Department of Linguistics and Psychology Liina Pülkkänen, another co-author of the article, called this process exciting for bilinguals. The brain, she writes, naturally and easily "combines words from different languages together, as it does when combining words from the same language."
Korean-English bilingual participants went through a series of experiments using magnetoencephalography. It is a technique that displays the neural activity of the brain. The data showed that language switching is natural for bilinguals and the brain does not notice that the language has switched. It is this combinatorial mechanism that helps the brain to easily interpret complex expressions that contain words from different languages.