Cortical oscillations phase-align to the quasi-rhythmic structure of the speech envelope. This cortical tracking of speech has been reported in two frequency bands, i.e., both in the theta band (4 – 8 Hz) and in the delta band (< 4 Hz). However, it is not clear if these two phenomena reflect passive synchronization of the auditory cortex to the acoustics of the speech input, or if they reflect higher processes involved in actively parsing speech information. I will discuss a set of data from our lab in which I will provide evidence for the distinct role that these two oscillatory phenomena play in speech processing. More specifically, I will discuss both evidence from typical and atypical language users. Overall, our research highlights the crucial role that delta cortical tracking of speech plays in language learning and processing.
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