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Language Development Starts in Womb: Study PDF Print E-mail

Babies who hear two languages while in the womb are already well on the path to bilingualism, suggests a new study by Canadian researchers.

"Babies are listening to language very, very early in life," said Janet Werker, co-author of the study and a psychology professor.

The study examined newborns with bilingual mothers who spoke both languages regularly during pregnancy.  They found not only are bilingual babies interested in hearing both their native languages, but they can also tell the two languages apart. 

"This gives them a leg up at getting started at bilingual language acquisition" said Werker.

Werker said many bilingual parents are concerned that if they speak two languages, their children are going to be language-delayed or confused - but this research refutes that notion.  The study will be published in the March edition of the journal Psychological Science.

Winnipeg Free Press
Friday, February 19, 2010

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