A study by researchers from the Pacific Lutheran University recently revealed that infants are already learning their mother’s language 10 weeks prior to being born and are interested in a new language only a few hours after birth.

This stunning discovery reported on ScienceDaily.com debunks the common notion that infants only learn vowel nuances postnatally. Study leader and Pacific Lutheran University psychology professor Christian Moon and her team worked with newborns seven to 75 hours old from the Madigan Army Medical Center in Washington, USA and from the Astrid Lindgren Children's Hospital in Stockholm, Sweden.

Both groups of children were made to listen to either English or Swedish vowels, which they controlled by sucking on their pacifiers connected to a computer. 17 vowels from their mother tongue and seventeen from the foreign tongue were played, and each were repeated until the infant pauses sucking.

The trial had astonishing results--babies both from the US and in Sweden listened and sucked more when foreign vowels were played, which indicated that they have been actually learning their native vowels while still in the womb and were already interested in new sounds.

This proves that babies aren’t in a “blank state” and are actually born learning. It also shows the capacity for learning at such a young age.

Mothers may want to start speaking to their infants prior to labor, and they may even want to try out a different language once they give birth. After all, their little ones are definitely listening.

(Photo by Abigail Batchelder via Flickr Creative Commons)

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