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German Researchers Find That Babies Cry in Parents' Language

Très Cool! Babies Cry in Their Native Language

I've always found it fascinating that dogs "bark" in different languages. Though we say "ruff ruff" in English, that same noise is expressed as "ouah, ouah" in French. Now here's something even cooler: German researchers have started to think that babies' wails sound different depending on what language their parents speak.

The scientists observed 60 babies born to families speaking French and German and found that the infants could be absorbing their parents' accents from inside the womb. In the last three months of pregnancy, babies have already begun to memorize sounds, and based on the analysis of the babies' cry "melodies," the sounds mapped closely to the parents' accents:

The French newborns cried with a rising "accent" while the German babies' cries had a falling inflection.

Writing in the journal Current Biology, they say the babies are probably trying to form a bond with their mothers by imitating them.

The findings suggest that unborn babies are influenced by the sound of the first language that penetrates the womb.

Fascinating, right? Now I want to hang out with a big international gang of babies and see if their cries all sound different. Wait, that means being trapped in a room with a bunch of crying babies — nevermind!

Image Source: Getty
Join The Conversation
Allytta Allytta 7 years
it's gaf gaf in Russian :) very different
fashionplate525 fashionplate525 7 years
So interesting, Tres!
Mädchen Mädchen 7 years
totygoliguez, I wonder about that, too. I read about a study once where they discovered that bilingual babies babbled differently depending on which parent was with them. The babies had one French parent and one English parent. When they were interacting with the French parent they babbled like French babies and when they were interacting with the English parent they babbled like English babies. Pretty fascinating, right?
totygoliguez totygoliguez 7 years
What about bilingual babies?
MissSushi MissSushi 7 years
That's pretty interesting.. there was a show on tlc or discovery one time about how they can hear sounds from different languages that we can't. There is a point very young when you lose that ability. They show a baby sitting there and play two sounds that to an adult not used to those languages hear as sounding the same. Each time they played each sound, they had a different toy come out right or left, and after a few times of this, when the sound was played but the toy didn't come out, the baby looked to the correct side to see the toy. Pretty neat
Mädchen Mädchen 7 years
That really is fascinating. :) There's even an audio file that comes with the link you gave. They do sound different.
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