The language planet
Tiny mammoth sculpture

Seeing voices

In the last five years a lot of evidence has emerged about the abilities of babies, and indeed the abilities of monkeys, to make subtle judgments about language. For example, human babies and tamarin monkeys can tell one language from another based upon its rhythm. I'm just catching up on the last month's news that babies are also adept at distinguishing foreign languages, like English and French, just by looking at the way a speaker's face moves. This miraculous ability exists between four- and six-months of age and it fades away between six- and eight-months, unless the baby lives in a bilingual household Science News, Science.


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