Newborn Cries Reflect Parents’ Language

Newborn Cries Reflect Parents' LanguageAccording to a new study conducted at the University of Wurzburg in Wurzburg, Germany, the cries of infants as young as three days old reflect the language of their parents. The study analyzed and recorded the newborn cries of 60 infants between 3 and 5 days old, half of whom had been born into French-speaking families, and the other half into German-speaking families. According to the study, “the cry patterns of the infants were consistent with the patterns of their parents’ native languages.” Though researchers have long known that parental voices can be heard and recognized in utero, this new research suggests that the language surrounding the infant seems to affect their sound production long before they begin to babble or talk.

According to Diane Paul, PhD, a speech-language pathologist and director of clinical issues in speech-language pathology for the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association in Rockville, MD: “Even before birth, the differences between languages are being heard, the babies are hearing the different melodic patterns, and they are born with the pattern that is more closely related to the melodic pattern the have heard in the language around them.”

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