Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Infants raised in bilingual environments can distinguish unfamiliar languages

Date:
February 20, 2011
Source:
University of British Columbia
Summary:
Infants raised in households where Spanish and Catalan are spoken can discriminate between English and French just by watching people speak, even though they have never been exposed to these new languages before, according to new research.

Infants raised in households where Spanish and Catalan are spoken can discriminate between English and French just by watching people speak, even though they have never been exposed to these new languages before, according to University of British Columbia psychologist Janet Werker.

Related Articles


Presented at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Annual Meeting in Washington, DC, Werker's latest findings provide further evidence that exposure to two native languages contributes to the development of perceptual sensitivity that extends beyond their mother tongues.

Werker has previously shown that bilingual infants can discern different native languages at four, six and eight months after birth. While monolingual babies have the ability to discern two languages at four and six months, they can no longer do so at eight months.

In Werker's latest study with Prof. Núria Sebastián-Gallés from the Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona, infants of four and six months were shown silent videos of talking faces speaking English and French. They found that babies growing up bilingual with Spanish and Catalan -- a Romance language spoken in Andorra and Catalonia -- were able to distinguish between English and French simply through facial cues, even though they had never before seen speakers of either language.

"The fact that this perceptual vigilance extends even to two unfamiliar languages suggests that it's not just the characteristics of the native languages that bilingual infants have learned about, but that they appear to have also developed a more general perceptual vigilance," says Werker, Canada Research Chair in Psychology and director of UBC's Infant Studies Centre.

"These findings, together with our previous work on newborn infants, provide even stronger evidence that human infants are equally prepared to grow up bilingual as they are monolingual," Werker adds. "The task of language separation is something they are prepared to do from birth -- with bilinguals increasingly adept over time."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of British Columbia. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of British Columbia. "Infants raised in bilingual environments can distinguish unfamiliar languages." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 February 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110218092539.htm>.
University of British Columbia. (2011, February 20). Infants raised in bilingual environments can distinguish unfamiliar languages. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 29, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110218092539.htm
University of British Columbia. "Infants raised in bilingual environments can distinguish unfamiliar languages." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110218092539.htm (accessed January 29, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Signs You Might Be The Passive Aggressive Friend

Signs You Might Be The Passive Aggressive Friend

BuzzFeed (Jan. 28, 2015) — "No, I&apos;m not mad. Why, are you mad?" Video provided by BuzzFeed
Powered by NewsLook.com
City Divided: A Look at Model Schools in the TDSB

City Divided: A Look at Model Schools in the TDSB

The Toronto Star (Jan. 27, 2015) — Model schools are rethinking how they engage with the community to help enhance the lives of the students and their parents. Video provided by The Toronto Star
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Saves Pennies For 65 Years

Man Saves Pennies For 65 Years

Rooftop Comedy (Jan. 26, 2015) — A man in Texas saved every penny he found for 65 years, and this week he finally cashed them in. Bank tellers at Prosperity Bank in Slaton, Texas were shocked when Ira Keys arrived at their bank with over 500 pounds of loose pennies stored in coffee cans. After more than an hour of sorting and counting, it turned out the 81 year-old was in possession of 81,600 pennies, or $816. And he&apos;s got more at home! Video provided by Rooftop Comedy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Technology Is Ruining Snow Days For Students

How Technology Is Ruining Snow Days For Students

Newsy (Jan. 25, 2015) — More schools are using online classes to keep from losing time to snow days, but it only works if students have Internet access at home. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins