According to new research, babies are able to build knowledge about the language they hear even in the first few months of life.
Therefore, if you move countries and forget your birth language, you retain the hidden ability, according to a study.
Dutch-speaking adults who were adopted at a young age from South Korea, exceeded expectation at Korean pronunciation when retrained after losing their birth language.
Scientists say parents should talk to babies as much as possible during early life.
The research was conducted in Seoul at the Hanyang University.
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The study is the first to show that the early experience of adopted children in their birth language gives them a distinct advantage in later years, even if they think the language has been forgotten or never remember it, said the leader of the research, Dr Jiyoun Choi.
She went on to say: ”This finding indicates that useful language knowledge is laid down in [the] very early months of life, which can be retained without further input of the language and revealed via re-learning,”
Adults aged around 30, who had been adopted as babies by Dutch speaking families were used for the study. The adults were asked to pronounce Korean consonants after a short training session.
The languages were chosen because Korean consonants are very different to those spoken in Dutch.
Those who participated in the study were compared with a group of adults who had never been exposed to the Korean language as children. Both groups had the exact same level of training and both groups performed to the same level before training. But after the training, the international adoptees exceeded expectations.
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