Brain's counting skill 'built-in'
Humans have an in-built ability to do mathematics even if they do not have the language to express it, a research team has suggested. A study in Australian Aboriginal children, whose languages lack number words, found they did just as well as English-speaking children in numeracy. The findings contradicts other research which found having "counting words" was the key to developing number skills. The study appears in the Proceedings of the US National Academy of Sciences. British and Australian researchers assessed 45 indigenous Australian children aged between four and seven years.
They compared those who lived in remote areas and only spoke Warlpiri or Anindilyakawa - two Aboriginal languages with very few number words - with those who lived in Melbourne and spoke English.