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.)