LANGUAGE starts IN THE WOMB
Talking to your baby while he is in utero can help develop his language skills, research reveals. Newborns recognise voices they hear in the third trimester, and show a preference for the voices of mum and others they’re familiar with. Babies also have a preference for languages with the same rhythm as their birth mothers – the language they hear in utero.
Psycholinguist Professor Anne Cutler says the belief that babies don’t learn phonemes – the smallest units of sound that make up words and language that distinguish one word from another, such as ‘bag’ and ‘tag’ – until the second six months of life, is being challenged.
New research shows babies can distinguish patterns of sound, and apply that knowledge later in life. Anne says we should talk to babies when they are still in the womb because it helps them pick up useful knowledge about language – and just because they enjoy being talked to.