Even babies can differentiate between spoken languages. Psychologists at Columbia University in Canada have found that babies aged 4-6 months are apparently able to differentiate between different languages. If a little girl lives in an environment where English is spoken, for example, she will react differently to a video in French, compared to one in English. This has been known for years, but Canadian researchers have found that babies can make a difference between languages even if they don't hear the words. They can notice the subtle differences in adult face movements.
You may wonder if you would be able to do this. "Babies are attentive to any information they need, when they are young," - says Dr. Janet Werker, one of the study's leaders. "What happens is that babies only learn to" cling "to the necessary information."
The little Prince
Werker and his colleagues recruited babies together with their parents, placed them in a pleasant, dark room with only a TV screen. On the screen, babies were shown videos without sound in which a woman read passages from the children's book - Little Print. The woman read from time to time in English, but also in French, from the original book "le petit prince". As the language changed, the babies were more focused on watching the video. Child psychologists have interpreted this as recognizing the change in babies.
"We expect that if the baby recognizes the change in spoken language, they will see things like:" Hey, this is new, it's interesting, I'm going to look at the screen again "- says Whitney Weikum, who led the study together. with Werker.
May 28, 2007