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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Children learn english in the Korean peninsula's Demilitarized Zone
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Children learn english in the Korean peninsula's Demilitarized Zone
Bryan Waite (L), a U.S. navy officer based in JSA area for U.N. command, teaches an English language class at the Daesungdong Elementary School, a school inside the demilitarised zone separating the two Koreas, in Paju, South Korea, November 22, 2016. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji 
An English language book is placed next to a military cap of Bryan Waite, a U.S. navy officer based in JSA area for U.N. command, as he teaches an English language class at the Daesungdong Elementary School, a school inside the demilitarised zone separating the two Koreas, in Paju, South Korea, November 22, 2016. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji 
Posters bearing messages, wishing unification between the two Koreas, hang on a wall at the Daesungdong Elementary School, a school inside the demilitarised zone separating the two Koreas, in Paju, South Korea, November 22, 2016. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji 
Bryan Waite, a U.S. navy officer based in JSA area for U.N. command, teaches an English language class at the Daesungdong Elementary School, a school inside the demilitarised zone separating the two Koreas, in Paju, South Korea, November 22, 2016. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji 
Bryan Waite (C), a U.S. navy officer based in JSA area for U.N. command, films Nanta, a Korean nonverbal percussion performance, performed by children at the Daesungdong Elementary School, a school inside the demilitarised zone separating the two Koreas, in Paju, South Korea, November 22, 2016. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji 
Children perform Nanta, a Korean nonverbal percussion performance, at the Daesungdong Elementary School, a school inside the demilitarised zone separating the two Koreas, in Paju, South Korea, November 22, 2016. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji 
A soldier stands at the Daesungdong Elementary School, a school inside the demilitarised zone separating the two Koreas, in Paju, South Korea, November 22, 2016. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji 
An honorary member certificate given by United Nations Military Armistice Commission Secretariat is seen at the Daesungdong Elementary School, a school inside the demilitarised zone separating the two Koreas, in Paju, South Korea, November 22, 2016. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji 
Children play in a playground as South Korean national flag flutters on the top of a 100-meter tower, at the Daesungdong Elementary School, a school inside the demilitarised zone separating the two Koreas, in Paju, South Korea, November 22, 2016. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji 
Bryan Waite, a US navy officer based in JSA area for U.N. command, high-fives children at the Daesungdong Elementary School, a school inside the demilitarised zone separating the two Koreas, in Paju, South Korea, November 22, 2016. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji 
Kim Dong-ku, head of the village, stands in front of a village hall of the Tae Sung freedom village near the Military Demarcation Line (MDL), inside the demilitarised zone separating the two Koreas, in Paju, South Korea, November 22, 2016. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji 
A shelter is seen near the Tae Sung freedom village near the Military Demarcation Line (MDL), inside the demilitarised zone separating the two Koreas, in Paju, South Korea, November 22, 2016. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji 
A post box is seen at the Tae Sung freedom village near the Military Demarcation Line (MDL), inside the demilitarised zone separating the two Koreas, in Paju, South Korea, November 22, 2016. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji 
A child looks out from a school bus at the Daesungdong Elementary School, a school inside the demilitarised zone separating the two Koreas, in Paju, South Korea, November 22, 2016. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji 
Soldiers stand guard on the rooftop of a village hall of the Tae Sung freedom village near the Military Demarcation Line (MDL), inside the demilitarised zone separating the two Koreas, in Paju, South Korea, November 22, 2016. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji 
A child looks out from a school bus at the Daesungdong Elementary School, a school inside the demilitarised zone separating the two Koreas, in Paju, South Korea, November 22, 2016. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji 
Women sort red peppers at the Tae Sung freedom village near the Military Demarcation Line (MDL), inside the demilitarised zone separating the two Koreas, in Paju, South Korea, November 22, 2016. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji 
A pair of binoculars is seen on the rooftop of a village hall of the Tae Sung freedom village near the Military Demarcation Line (MDL), inside the demilitarised zone separating the two Koreas, in Paju, South Korea, November 22, 2016. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji 
South Korean flag flutters on the top of a 100-metre tower as soldiers stand guard on the rooftop of a village hall of the Tae Sung freedom village near the Military Demarcation Line (MDL), inside the demilitarised zone separating the two Koreas, in Paju, South Korea, November 22, 2016. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji 
North Korean flag flatters on the top of 160-metre tower at North Korea's propaganda village of Gijungdong in this picture taken from the Tae Sung freedom village near the Military Demarcation Line (MDL), inside the demilitarised zone separating the two Koreas, in Paju, South Korea, November 22, 2016. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji 
Propaganda village of Gijungdong of North Korea is seen in this picture taken from the Tae Sung freedom village near the Military Demarcation Line (MDL), inside the demilitarised zone separating the two Koreas, in Paju, South Korea, November 22, 2016. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji 
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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."

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