Language Learning Begins at 30 Weeks In Utero


In findings that are among the first of their kind, researchers have determined that following the 30th week of pregnancy, unborn babies begin to pick up language cues from their mother.

The mechanisms in the brain that are associated with the sense of hearing are fully developed after thirty weeks meaning that from that point forward they can hear and take in aspects of speech and language from their mothers and can actually put to use the information they learn in the last ten weeks of pregnancy to tell the difference between languages when they are born.

Says Patricia Kuhl, co-author and co-director of the Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences at the University of Washington,

"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."

The findings, appearing in the journal Acta Paediatrica, involved 40 newborn children and began just 30 hours after they were born.

Christine Moon, lead author of the study and a professor of psychology at Tacoma's Pacific Lutheran University, writes:

"This is the first study that shows fetuses learn prenatally about the particular speech sounds of a mother's language.This study moves the measurable result of experience with speech sounds from six months of age to before birth."

Source: MNT


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