Monday, March 22, 2010

Dialect in Child's Cry

Kathleen Wermke of the Center for Prespeech Development and Developmental Disorders at the University of Wurzburg in Germany, conducted a case study in comparing French babies' and German babies' cry. What she found that was significant was that there is a certain distinct pattern to each of the foreign babies cries.From 30 French newborns and 30 German newborns, Wermke found that French cries tend to have a rising melodic pattern, while the German cries tend to have a falling melodic pattern. She concluded that babies may be imitating their mother's tongues from inside the womb. She also concluded that it may be a way to bond with the mother in the babies attempt to give similar patterns to their parents dialect."I think we should be more aware that crying is a language itself," she says, "and the baby is really trying to communicate with us by its first sounds already."
I find this to be interesting, if babies can already pick up the language even before they are born, imagine what else they can pick up. Although there are plenty of other studies about how rhythmic sounds such as music and TV can affect the unborn child, people lack the appreciation and the complexity of the babies actions.I further agree with Wermke in that we are quick to hush a baby's cries because we only see it as a sign of need, thus lack the appreciation of how the cries are of our native language.So my challenge is before hushing a baby, listen to its cry. Maybe its speaking your language!

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