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Q: language learning in the womb ( Answered 3 out of 5 stars,   5 Comments )
Subject: language learning in the womb
Category: Family and Home
Asked by: languageexpert-ga
List Price: $5.00
Posted: 04 May 2002 06:18 PDT
Expires: 11 May 2002 06:18 PDT
Question ID: 13113
How can babies learn a language in the womb?
Subject: Re: language learning in the womb
Answered By: missy-ga on 04 May 2002 07:45 PDT
Rated:3 out of 5 stars
Good morning!

When I was about 6 months along with my now 9 year-old, I saw an
advertisement in one of those magazines that mothers to be are always
toting around, claiming I could teach my boy a language before he was
even born!

It turns out, that's not quite accurate.

Babies don't learn language itself in utero.  What they *do* learn are
the cadences and tones of language, the building blocks of learning
language.  Babies pick up the sounds, tones and rhythms of their
mother's voices, the vibrations of which are conducted through her
bones.  Later in pregnancy, they can hear (and later recall) the
speech patterns of others, though the sound is much like trying to
listen to the radio with your head under water - it's muffled and
unclear, but you can hear the rhythms and tones.  Learning and
recalling these tones and cadences are what help children learn their
native tongue.

There have been several article written about language learning in
children which mention in utero learning:

"The Origins of Babble" 
[ ]

[,,1468,00.html ]

"Introduction to Contemporary Linguistics" (Section 2)
[ ]

"Language Acquisition:  Even More Miraculous Than You Might Think!"
[ ]

No Title
[ ]

Thanks for your inquiry!

Best regards,


Request for Answer Clarification by languageexpert-ga on 05 May 2002 18:21 PDT
Thanks. I was looking for actual techniques or exercises. But this was
good and very interesting.

Clarification of Answer by missy-ga on 05 May 2002 19:56 PDT
Hi Steven,

As I recall from my own pregnancies, the techniques being hawked
suggested getting stereo headphones to put over the abdomen, and
plugging them in to the tape of the moment (there were so many being

Looking for [+teach "in utero"]and [+teach "in womb"] led me mostly to
"spirituality" and LaMaze links, and a few pages suggesting that you
read, sing or speak to your child before birth.

It seems that fad for the tapes of yore has passed, and it may even be
that such things could *hinder* your baby's development!

Have a look at this:

" "There has been no defended research anywhere that shows any
enduring effect
from these stimulations," asserts Filer. "Since no one can even say
certain when a fetus is awake, poking them or sticking speakers on the
mother's abdomen may be changing their natural sleep patterns. No one
consider poking or prodding a newborn baby in her bassinet or putting
speaker next to her ear, so why would you do such a thing with a

Als is more emphatic. "My bet is that poking, shaking, or otherwise 
deliberately stimulating the fetus might alter its developmental
and anything that affects the development of the brain comes at a
cost." "

"ATL: part 3 Re: Embryonic Journey II. Michael Carriger"

In my nearly 10 years (next month!) as a parent, I've learned one
thing:  kids are sponges.  They suck up everything around them, no
special equipment or techniques needed!  My suggestion?  Get a copy of
your favorite Dr. Seuss book and read to your baby *after* birth. 
It's very rewarding to watch your baby smile at the sound of your

Best of luck,


Clarification of Answer by missy-ga on 05 May 2002 20:58 PDT
Argh!  The formatting!  I'm sorry, it didn't look like that when I put it in!
languageexpert-ga rated this answer:3 out of 5 stars
I was looking for actual techniques or exercises or equipment

Subject: Re: language learning in the womb
From: andyt-ga on 04 May 2002 12:47 PDT
While not totally related to learning language, seeing this topic made
me think of about a week ago, when I went to see a lecture on Baby
babbling recognition.  At my college ( there is a
research team trying to come up with a way to recognize 'babble' from
babies.  Their primary research interest is in the recognition of 6-12
month baby talk, in order to prevent future disorders and see things
that might go wrong in the future.

Their article, Automatic Babble Recognition can be found here:
Subject: Re: language learning in the womb
From: mplungjan-ga on 04 May 2002 15:58 PDT
Also on an seemingly unrelated note but I believe not: I am very
convinced that being musical helps learning new languages and I often
put a set of padded headphones on my wife's stomach and played both
mozart and pop and I know for a fact that my daughter both has a keen
sense of rhythm and have picked up a second language automatically (by
hearing it often)

Subject: Re: language learning in the womb
From: homeed-ga on 07 May 2002 18:41 PDT
The best way, imho, is for the MOTHER to listen to the tapes and speak
the words out loud.  It's a voice the baby recognizes as important,
and he hears it throughout the months of his life in utero.  Can we
know if the baby "filters out" voices which are not his mother's?  Any
mother will tell you that her baby recognizes her own voice while
still in the womb.

The music idea is a good one.  Meld the two.  Have the mother learn
songs in different languages while she is pregnant.  The baby will be
exposed to the different sounds and unique diction.
Subject: Re: language learning in the womb
From: artist-ga on 14 May 2002 06:26 PDT
 I am not 100% sure, how it happened, but in Hindy Mythical Mahabharat
, Arujan's Son Abhimanyu learned the speciallized skills for winning a
particular type of war (called Chakravyooha) from Krishna. Refer,

Subject: Re: language learning in the womb
From: nityaram-ga on 05 Aug 2004 12:14 PDT
sri sukadeva goswami also became enlighted simply by hearing the
Srimad Bhagavatam while he was in the womb of Vyasadeva wife.

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