Newborns cry in their native language


Scientists from the University of Würzburg, as well as researchers from the Max-Planck-Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig and the Laboratoire de Sciences Cognitives et Psycholinguistique at the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris developed a study which discovered that German and French newborn babies cry in their native language. The researchers focused on German and French languages because of the differences in the intonation of each language. In French, the stress lies towards the end but in German it’s usually at the beginning. This difference in intonation would also produce a difference in melody and rhythm. As a result, French newborns produced cries with a rising melody contour, while the German newborns cried with falling contours. This means that the cry melody of German infants was most intense at the start, meanwhile the French infants’ cry intensifies towards the end. The results gathered from the study demonstrate how newborns were able to  reproduce exactly the same intonation patterns that are typical of their respective mother tongues. More in depth research will be conducted on this and whether the cry melody can be a potential risk indicator for later language development.

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