Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Babies Learn Language in the Womb

Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Babies Learn Language in the Womb

Article excerpt

Babies only hours old can differentiate between sounds from their native language and a foreign language, scientists have discovered. Babies begin absorbing language while still in the womb, earlier than previously thought, the new study suggests.

Sensory and brain mechanisms for hearing develop at 30 weeks of gestational age; the study shows that unborn babies are listening to their mothers talk during the last 10 weeks of pregnancy; and at birth, they can demonstrate what they've heard.

"The mother has first dibs on influencing the child's brain," said Patricia Kuhl, co-author of the study and co-director of the Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences at the University of Washington. "The vowel sounds in her speech are the loudest units, and the fetus locks onto them."

Previously, researchers had shown that newborns are born ready to learn and begin to discriminate between language sounds within the first months of life, but there was no evidence that language learning had occurred in utero. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.