Study: Babies can retain knowledge of their birth language

Babies can remember aspects of a native language even at a very early age, according to new research.

The study by an international team of researchers focuses on a group of adults who had been adopted from Korea as babies and raised in Dutch-speaking households.

When these participants were asked to repeat Korean language sounds, they performed similarly to another group that had no exposure to the Asian language; however, after some training, the adoptees performed especially well.

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Researchers also found that there was little difference in outcome between those who had been adopted as young infants and those who had been adopted after 17 months of age when speaking would have begun.

As such, the study states that "the adoptees' retained knowledge of Korean...appears to be abstract in nature rather than dependent on the amount of experience."

Based on the findings, one of the paper's authors, Dr. Jiyoun Choi, advised in a BBC interview, "Please remember that [the] language learning process occurs very early in life, and useful language knowledge is laid down in the very early months of life as our study suggests."

She also suggested, "Try to talk to your babies as much as possible because they are absorbing and digesting what you are saying."