Baby talk

Our brains are wired to recognise repeated auditory and visual patterns, an ability that possibly evolved as a way to detect the non-random sounds made by predators, and which is also used in language acquisition.

According to a report on, researchers from Canada, Chile and Italy have done studies of newborn babies in Canada and Italy using brain scans to discover which parts of the babies brains are active when they hear words, and whether they react differently to different words. They found the part of babies’ brains that responds most to language is the same part, the temporal lobes, used for language processing in adults, and that babies react most to words with repeated syllables, such as mama, dada and banana.

One of the researchers, Judit Gervain of the University of British Columbia, believes that rudimentary language structures already in place from birth, and that it’s easy for a baby to attach meaning to the words like mama and dada.

This entry was posted in Language, Language acquisition.

0 Responses to Baby talk

  1. dmh says:

    What about in other animals like dogs and cats? Is there any research into what part of their brains are active when they hear commands like: Come, Stay, Fetch, etc…? This could be very interesting.

  2. And where does this “meaning” that the babies “attach” to “words” come from?

  3. Phil says:

    Isn’t that what Noam Chomsky means when he refers to transformational grammar?

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