- It was previously thought they began picking up words in the first few months of life
- But new research shows infants start to discriminate between vowel sounds before they are born
- Babies tested acknowledged difference between SweBabies start to learn language before they are even born,scientists have discovered.Previously, it was believed that newborns begin to discriminate between language sounds within their first months of life.But a new study indicates that babies have the capacity to learn and remember elementary sounds of their language from their mother during the last 10 weeks of pregnancy.Babies only hours old are able to differentiate between sounds from their native language and a foreign language, scientists have discovered. The study indicates that babies begin absorbing language while still in the womb, earlier than previously thought.
Read more at: http://medicalxpress.com/news/2013-01-womb-babies-language-mothers.html#jC differentiate between sounds from their native language and a foreign language, scientists have discovered. The study indicates that babies begin absorbing language while still in the womb, earlier than previously thought.'We have known for over 30 years that we begin learning prenatally about voices by listening to the sound of our mother talking,' said Christine Moon, a professor of psychology at Pacific Lutheran University, who led the research.'[But] this is the first study that shows we learn about the particular speech sounds of our mother's language before we are born.'Forty girls and boys, about 30-hours-old , were studied in Tacoma and Stockholm, Sweden.The babies heard either Swedish or English vowels and they could control how many times they heard the vowels by sucking on a dummy connected to a computer.Vowel sounds were chosen for the study because they are prominent, and the researchers thought they might be noticeable in the mother’s ongoing speech, even against the noisy background sounds of the womb.In both countries, the babies at birth sucked longer for the foreign language than they did for their native tongue, regardless of how much postnatal experience they had.This indicated to researchers that they were learning the vowel sounds in utero.Patricia Kuhl, co-author and co-director of the Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences at the University of Washington, added: 'We thought infants were 'born learning' but now we know they learn even earlier. They are not phonetically naïve at birth.'We want to know what magic they put to work in early childhood that adults cannot.'We can't waste that early curiosity. The mother has first dibs on influencing the child's brain.'The vowel sounds in her speech are the loudest units and the fetus locks onto them.dish and English