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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Babies can hear syllables in the womb, says research

25 February 2013 

Babies can hear syllables in the womb, says research

By Michelle Roberts
Health editor, BBC News online

Linguistic processes appear to develop
long before birth 

Scientists say babies decipher speech as early as three months before birth.

The evidence comes from detailed brain scans of 12 infants born prematurely.

At just 28 weeks' gestation, the babies appeared to discriminate between different syllables like "ga" and "ba" as well as male and female voices.

Writing in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), the French team said it was unlikely the babies' experience outside the womb would have affected their findings.

The research lends support to the idea that babies develop language skills while still in the womb in response to their parents' voices. (...)

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