Most of the pregnant women love speaking to their unborn baby, but do you know that this can lead to your baby’s first language lessons. An interesting study has revealed that babies can distinguish between different sounds in various languages a month before they are born. Foetuses can hear things, including speech and songs, although the voices in the womb are muffled. The study has revealed that the baby’s heart rates changed when they hear unfamiliar, rhythmically distinct language (Japanese) after having heard a passage of English language. Their heart rates didn’t changes when they were presented with another passage in English instead of Japanese.
"The results suggest that language development may indeed start in utero. Foetuses are tuning their ears to the language they are going to acquire even before they are born, based on the speech signals available to them in utero," said lead author Utako Minai, associate professor from the University of Kansas.
"Pre-natal sensitivity to the rhythmic properties of language may provide children with one of the very first building blocks in acquiring language," Minai added.
The study was published in the journal NeuroReport, in which the team examined examined 24 wom women who were roughly eight months pregnant. Minai had a bilingual speaker make two recordings, one each in English and Japanese -- argued to be rhythmically distinctive language, to be played in succession to the foetus.
"The intrauterine environment is a noisy place. The foetus is exposed to maternal gut sounds, her heartbeats and voice, as well as external sounds.
If the baby is not exposed to sound, the auditory cortex wouldn’t get enough stimulation to grow properly. This study validates that some of the development is related to language, explains Kathleen Gustafson, a research professor at the varsity.
(With IANS Inputs)
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