Newborn babies can pick up and learn the sounds of their mother’s speech while in the womb, a new study claims.
Research at Pacific Lutheran University in the US showed that newborn babies have the capacity to learn and remember sounds of language from their mother during the last 10 weeks of pregnancy.
“We have known for over 30 years that we begin learning prenatally about voices by listening to the sound of our mother talking,” said lead researcher Christine Moon, according to Science Daily.
“This is the first study that shows we learn about the particular speech sounds of our mother’s language before we are born.”
Before the study it was generally believed that infants learned about the small parts of speech, the vowels and consonants, after they were born.
The study tested newborns on two sets of vowel sounds, native and foreign, and measured their interest in the vowel sounds based on how long and often they sucked on a pacifier.
The babies listening to foreign vowels sucked more than those listening to their native mother tongue.
“These little ones have been listening to their mother’s voice in the womb, and particularly her vowels for 10 weeks. The mother has first dibs on influencing the child’s brain,” said the study’s co-author Patricia Kuhl. “At birth, they are apparently ready for something novel.”
“This is a stunning finding,” said Patricia. “We thought infants were ‘born learning’ but now we know they learn even earlier. They are not phonetically naïve at birth.”
Amazing stuff! Did you talk to your bump?