Navigation Links
Babies' language learning starts from the womb
Date:11/5/2009

EMBARGO HAS LIFTED DUE TO AN EMBARGO BREAK

From their very first days, newborns' cries already bear the mark of the language their parents speak, reveals a new study published online on November 5th in Current Biology, a Cell Press publication. The findings suggest that infants begin picking up elements of what will be their first language in the womb, and certainly long before their first babble or coo.

"The dramatic finding of this study is that not only are human neonates capable of producing different cry melodies, but they prefer to produce those melody patterns that are typical for the ambient language they have heard during their fetal life, within the last trimester of gestation," said Kathleen Wermke of the University of Wrzburg in Germany. "Contrary to orthodox interpretations, these data support the importance of human infants' crying for seeding language development."

Human fetuses are able to memorize sounds from the external world by the last trimester of pregnancy, with a particular sensitivity to melody contour in both music and language, earlier studies showed. Newborns prefer their mother's voice over other voices and perceive the emotional content of messages conveyed via intonation contours in maternal speech (a.k.a. "motherese"). Their perceptual preference for the surrounding language and their ability to distinguish between different languages and pitch changes are based primarily on melody.

Although prenatal exposure to native language was known to influence newborns' perception, scientists had thought that the surrounding language affected sound production much later, the researchers said. It now appears that isn't so.

Wermke's team recorded and analyzed the cries of 60 healthy newborns, 30 born into French-speaking families and 30 born into German-speaking families, when they were three to five days old. That analysis revealed clear differences in the shape of the newborns' cry melodies, based on their mother tongue.

Specifically, French newborns tend to cry with a rising melody contour, whereas German newborns seem to prefer a falling melody contour in their crying. Those patterns are consistent with characteristic differences between the two languages, Wermke said.

The new data show an extremely early impact of native language, the researchers say. Earlier studies of vocal imitation had shown that infants can match vowel sounds presented to them by adult speakers, but only from 12 weeks on. That skill depends on vocal control that just isn't physically possible much earlier, the researchers explain.

"Imitation of melody contour, in contrast, is merely predicated upon well-coordinated respiratory-laryngeal mechanisms and is not constrained by articulatory immaturity," they write. "Newborns are probably highly motivated to imitate their mother's behavior in order to attract her and hence to foster bonding. Because melody contour may be the only aspect of their mother's speech that newborns are able to imitate, this might explain why we found melody contour imitation at that early age."


'/>"/>

Contact: Cathleen Genova
cgenova@cell.com
617-397-2802
Cell Press
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Stressed-Out Moms Carry Babies on the Right
2. March of Dimes, Experts for Moms and Babies, Launches Podcast
3. Steroids Seem Safe for Babies at Risk of Early Birth
4. Babies raised in bilingual homes learn new words differently than infants learning one language
5. Motherhood(R) Maternity Joins March of Dimes to Give Babies a Healthy Start in Life
6. Photo: Introducing a New Line of Baby and Toddler Shirts that Can Help Protect Innocent Babies During Flu Season
7. YouTube Video to Benefit AIDS Babies
8. Treadmill training helps Down syndrome babies walk months earlier
9. March of Dimes Honors Babies on El Dia de Todos los Santos
10. Common drug for stopping preterm labor may be harmful for babies
11. Babies Driving Robots at University
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:12/8/2016)... ... December 08, 2016 , ... STAT courier is pleased ... a convenient service for Texas, they are expanding their presence in Dallas. One of ... spree that will bring new jobs to the Dallas and Forth Worth market. STAT ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... ... December 08, 2016 , ... Vida Health, the digital ... B led by Canvas Ventures . Other investors include Nokia Growth Partners (NGP) ... platform to serve more consumers who are managing chronic conditions or simply ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... ... December 08, 2016 , ... Peter Zipp ... in and around the greater Phoenix metropolitan region, is announcing a charity event ... mission of the Homeless Youth Connection is to promote community awareness of the ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... ... December 08, 2016 , ... ... families and business owners in and around central Kansas, is joining the Youth ... youth in the region. , Headquartered in Wichita, Youth Horizons works to empower ...
(Date:12/7/2016)... ... December 07, 2016 , ... Kenall Manufacturing, a leader ... MedMaster™ MPCNGX . The MPCNGX is a multi-function, sealed, LED luminaire that meets the ... light where and when it’s needed. , A 2’ x 4’ model ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:12/8/2016)... , December 8, 2016 According to a new ... BP, Sleep, Fetal), Therapeutic (Pain, Insulin)), End Use (Sports, Fitness, RPM), Type ... by MarketsandMarkets, the global market, in terms of value, is projected to ... a CAGR of 18.0% during the forecast period. ... ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... Mass. , Dec. 8, 2016  Haemonetics Corporation (NYSE: ... NextGen DMS (Donor Management System), an innovative software suite designed ... The launch of NextGen DMS 4 improves ... including: reducing the cost per liter of plasma collected, enhancing ... improve plasma center operations. ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... BEIJING , and SAN DIEGO , ... genomic services and solutions with cutting edge next-generation sequencing and ... biotechnology company; and the Genome Institute of ... (NovogeneAIT) – a new joint venture between Novogene and AITbiotech ... at Biopolis, Singapore .   ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: