Baby with pacifier
Media playback is unsupported on your device

Newborns participate in language study

Researchers in the US and Sweden have found evidence that we start learning language before we're even born.

Forty baby boys and girls - about 30 hours old - were randomly exposed to different vowel sounds that are unique to either English or Swedish.

The babies' response to each sound was measured by the strength of their sucking on a pacifier connected to a computer.

In each group, the babies sucked hardest when they heard the vowels representing the foreign language.

The results indicate that babies are born with the ability to distinguish different languages and are curious enough to explore the language that is unfamiliar, says Patricia Kuhl.

She is one of the study's authors and co-director of the Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences at the University of Washington.

Kuhl provided a video clip of this experiment to the BBC.