Study Finds Babies Begin to Learn the Language of Their Mother While in the Womb

A new study by researchers at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington, and the University of Washington has found that babies only a few hours old can differentiate between the language used by their mother and a foreign language. The authors of the study state that beginning at 30 weeks of gestation, fetuses begin hearing their mothers talk and lock on mentally to these sounds. The researchers measured babies’ responses to vowel sounds by their duration of sucking on pacifiers connected to computers. Babies sucked longer after hearing foreign language sounds than when they heard sounds in their mother’s native language.

Lynsey Tveit, Q ClubChristine Moon, professor of psychology at Pacific Lutheran University and lead author of the study, states, “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.”

Dr. Moon is a graduate of Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington, where she majored in French literature. She holds a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in experimental psychology from Columbia University.

Filed Under: Research/Study


RSSComments (0)

Leave a Reply