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Newborns’ Cries Reflect Parents’ Language (Not to Mention Status of Diaper Contents)


Newborns’ Cries Reflect Parents’ Language (Not to Mention Status of Diaper Contents)

The cries of infants as young as three days old already reflect the language their parents speak, according to a new study that compared the newborn cries of French-born (“Oooouuuuiiii!”) and German-born children (“Neeeeiiinnn!”).

While it’s not news that parental voices, especially a mother’s, are perceived in utero and memorized, as are other sounds such as musical melodies, this study also reveals that such surrounding language affects infants’ sound production much earlier than researchers thought.

The new research suggests that well before babies coo, babble, or say “Mama” or, my mother-in-law’s favorite, “Dada,” they already have picked up the pattern of their native language — and it comes out in their cries.

Which means the cries of Ozzy Osbourne’s children as babies must have been quite, um, interesting.  (And still closer to forming a coherent sentence than their father.)

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Candy Kirby is the founder of The Laughing Stork and a professional fun-maker who will never stop chasing her lifelong dream: to find the Pomeranian or porn star after whom her parents must have named her. A humor columnist for Disney, Nickelodeon, Scary Mommy, Reductress and Redbook, she also used to be a staff writer for the soap opera, The Bold and the Beautiful, where she penned many scripts featuring prolonged heated stares and countless “Who’s the Daddy?” story lines. Candy lives in Los Angeles with her husband, two young kids and three rescue Persian cats, the latter of whom are the real brains behind this operation (so send all complaints to them).

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