A1 Journal article (refereed)
Discriminatory Brain Processes of Native and Foreign Language in Children with and without Reading Difficulties (2023)

Azaiez, N., Loberg, O., Lohvansuu, K., Ylinen, S., Hämäläinen, J. A., & Leppänen, P. H. T. (2023). Discriminatory Brain Processes of Native and Foreign Language in Children with and without Reading Difficulties. Brain Sciences, 13(1), Article 76. https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci13010076

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editorsAzaiez, Najla; Loberg, Otto; Lohvansuu, Kaisa; Ylinen, Sari; Hämäläinen, Jarmo A.; Leppänen, Paavo H. T.

Journal or seriesBrain Sciences


Publication year2023

Publication date30/12/2022


Issue number1

Article number76

PublisherMDPI AG

Publication countrySwitzerland

Publication languageEnglish


Publication open accessOpenly available

Publication channel open accessOpen Access channel

Publication is parallel published (JYX)https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/84731

Additional informationThis article belongs to the Special Issue Neurodevelopmental Disorders and Early Language Acquisition.


The association between impaired speech perception and reading difficulty has been well established in native language processing, as can be observed from brain activity. However, there has been scarce investigation of whether this association extends to brain activity during foreign language processing. The relationship between reading skills and neuronal speech representation of foreign language remains unclear. In the present study, we used event-related potentials (ERPs) with high-density EEG to investigate this question. Eleven- to 13-year-old children typically developed (CTR) or with reading difficulties (RD) were tested via a passive auditory oddball paradigm containing native (Finnish) and foreign (English) speech items. The change-detection-related ERP responses, the mismatch response (MMR), and the late discriminative negativity (LDN) were studied. The cluster-based permutation tests within and between groups were performed. The results showed an apparent language effect. In the CTR group, we found an atypical MMR in the foreign language processing and a larger LDN response for speech items containing a diphthong in both languages. In the RD group, we found unstable MMR with lower amplitude and a nonsignificant LDN response. A deficit in the LDN response in both languages was found within the RD group analysis. Moreover, we observed larger brain responses in the RD group and a hemispheric polarity reversal compared to the CTR group responses. Our results provide new evidence that language processing differed between the CTR and RD groups in early and late discriminatory responses and that language processing is linked to reading skills in both native and foreign language contexts.

Keywordslanguagesmother tongueforeign languageslanguage developmentobservationspeech (phenomena)literacylearning difficultieslanguage disordersreading disordersdyslexiabraincognitive developmentEEG

Free keywordsspeech perception; native language; foreign language; reading difficulties; MMR; LDN

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Ministry reportingYes

Reporting Year2023

JUFO rating1

Last updated on 2024-15-05 at 13:02