Friday, November 06, 2009

From the Mouths of Babes

Dawn and I have joked that when Olivia babbles it sounds a lot like she's speaking Chinese. Well, I just read an article at Times Online suggesting that might actually be the case:
    Newborn babies mimic the intonation of their native tongue when they cry, indicating that they begin to pick up the first elements of language in the womb, a study suggests.

    Scientists were already aware that babies are able to recognise certain sounds from birth, such as their parents' voices, but they believed that infants were only able to imitate them from the age of about 12 weeks.

    Now research carried out in Germany suggests that babies develop a capacity for language much earlier than was previously thought. "Our study shows the importance of crying for seeding language development," said Professor Kathleen Wermke, who led the research at the University of Würzburg.
We didn't meet Olivia until she was one, which means she had already been learning for about a year and nine months. She's a bright kid, so I wouldn't be at all surprised if she really is speaking Chinese!


Rachel R. said...

How fascinating! Now I want to hear recordings of babies from other countries crying. lol

Beth said...

We've always said that Hope makes sounds that we can't make. She definitely had some mandarin pre-lingual skills. I believe it for sure.

Tracy said...

I agree - and one of Charlotte's first words here was "go-go", when she saw our giant cat Gus - and go-go is dog in Chinese. Gus does look like a dog...

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