Scientists Say Newborn Babies Cry in Native Language Learned in the Womb
by Steven Ertelt
November 6, 2009
Berlin, Germany (LifeNews.com) — Scientists have determined that unborn children learn language skills in the womb and their mother’s dialect — which contributes to a baby’s cry when she is born. The research suggests that the language a mother speaks greatly influences the cries her babies learns in the womb and produces after birth.
French newborns tend to cry with rising melody patterns, slowly increasing in pitch from the beginning to the end, the scientists noted. On the other hand, German newborns seem to prefer falling melody patterns.
Both crying patterns are consistent with the speech patterns of people who speak the two different languages.
Kathleen Wermke, a medical anthropologist at the University of Würzburg in Germany is behind the research and she follows on research already showing that speech in the womb is influential as babies prefer the voice of the mother.
Wermke and her team recorded and analyzed the cries of 60 healthy newborns when they were three to five days old with 30 coming from French-speaking families and 30 coming from families that speak German.
Wermke told LiveScience that the command babies have over their crying relies on an ability that is developed before birth. As a result, they can begin mimicking their mothers "at that early age," she said.
"Newborns are probably highly motivated to imitate their mother’s behavior in order to attract her and hence to foster bonding," Wermke told LiveScience.
The researchers details their results online November 5 in the journal Current Biology.
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