Study says: Babies cry in their mother tongue

Study says: Babies cry in their mother tongue

Babies cry with the same accents as their mothers proving they start to learn language in the womb, scientists claim.


Researchers studied the cries of 60 healthy new born babies born to families speaking French and German.The tones of the cries of each baby showed a distinct similarity to their mother tongue's intonation patterns.

The study, which was documented in the Journal of Current Biology, found that French newborns cried with a rising "accent" while the German babies' cries had a falling inflection. The researchers say that this is primarily due to the fact that during the last trimester of pregnancy, a fetus is already able to perceive sounds, especially those created by its mother. Experts say that it is the baby's sense of hearing that develops first.

Kathleen Wermke from the University of Wurzburg, who led the research, said: "The dramatic finding of this study is that not only are human neonates capable of producing different cry melodies, but they prefer to produce those melody patterns that are typical for the ambient language they have heard during their foetal life."

"Newborns are probably highly motivated to imitate their mother's behavior in order to attract her and hence to foster bonding," Wermke added.

This study reinforces former studies that tell us that a mother should start sowing seeds of communication when her baby is still inside her tummy from about week 16. In the third trimester of pregnancy babies begin to memorize sounds, such as their mother’s voice and simple music melodies. All of this just brings new meaning to the phrase mother tongue!

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Written by

Roshni Mahtani

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