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ENGLISH speakers struggling with the language’s bizarre spellings have a different pattern of brain activity from speakers of Italian, which is spoken as it is written. Using a positron emission tomography (PET) scanner, Uta Frith of University College London and her colleagues studied the active parts of the brain when people were reading. This confirmed Frith’s suspicion that English and Italian speakers process text differently. “You use the same brain areas in the two languages, but the system components have different weightings,” says Frith (Nature Neuroscience, vol 3,
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