Document Detail

Language experienced in utero affects vowel perception after birth: a two-country study.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  23173548     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
AIMS: To test the hypothesis that exposure to ambient language in the womb alters phonetic perception shortly after birth. This two-country study aimed to see whether neonates demonstrated prenatal learning by how they responded to vowels in a category from their native language and another non-native language, regardless of how much postnatal experience the infants had.
METHOD: A counterbalanced experiment was conducted in Sweden (n = 40) and the USA (n = 40) using Swedish and English vowel sounds. The neonates (mean postnatal age = 33 h) controlled audio presentation of either native or non-native vowels by sucking on a pacifier, with the number of times they sucked their pacifier being used to demonstrate what vowel sounds attracted their attention. The vowels were either the English/i/or Swedish/y/in the form of a prototype plus 16 variants of the prototype.
RESULTS: The infants in the native and non-native groups responded differently. As predicted, the infants responded to the unfamiliar non-native language with higher mean sucks. They also sucked more to the non-native prototype. Time since birth (range: 7-75 h) did not affect the outcome.
CONCLUSION: The ambient language to which foetuses are exposed in the womb starts to affect their perception of their native language at a phonetic level. This can be measured shortly after birth by differences in responding to familiar vs. unfamiliar vowels.
Christine Moon; Hugo Lagercrantz; Patricia K Kuhl
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't     Date:  2013-01-09
Journal Detail:
Title:  Acta paediatrica (Oslo, Norway : 1992)     Volume:  102     ISSN:  1651-2227     ISO Abbreviation:  Acta Paediatr.     Publication Date:  2013 Feb 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2013-01-11     Completed Date:  2013-06-13     Revised Date:  2014-02-04    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  9205968     Medline TA:  Acta Paediatr     Country:  Norway    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  156-60     Citation Subset:  IM    
Copyright Information:
©2012 The Author(s)/Acta Paediatrica ©2012 Foundation Acta Paediatrica.
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MeSH Terms
Fetal Development*
Infant Behavior*
Infant, Newborn
Language Development*
Speech Perception*
United States
Grant Support
Comment In:
Acta Paediatr. 2013 Feb;102(2):102-3   [PMID:  23278627 ]

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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