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Brainy babies recognise mum’s speech in the womb

Your unborn baby can hear words and language, research finds

Posted: 6 May 2010
by Kimberley Smith
Talk to your bump for a clever baby

A study at US Northwestern University has suggested that babies begin to develop language skills before they’re even born.

“We think the very first processes of language development are actually starting in the womb because they are overhearing their mother’s speech,” said Professor Kathy Hirsh-Pasik from the Infant Language Laboratory.

Researchers say that babies pick up the melodies of language and can sometimes remember words that they’ve heard. They may not understand the words but they can tell the difference between them and also between different language groups.

If that wasn’t enough incentive to get chatting to your bump, past studies have shown that babies and children who are frequently talked to have higher IQ scores and do better in school.

“Children need interactive back-and-forth,” warns Prof Kathy, though, so listening to the TV won’t have the same effect."

If you want to give your child a head start at language, we've got loads of tips to help!

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