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December, 1998
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Although it is often ignored or denied by investigators of language learning, prenatal language learning is an important aspect of human development. During the third trimester of gestation, a baby in the womb can hear the mother's voice clearly, and makes use of this ability by learning the rhythms, tones, and sequences of whatever languages the mother speaks. These phonological patterns do not stand apart from context, but instead are experienced as integral parts of the mother's moods and activities. By building up neural patterns in the brain, the baby gets a head start on the phonological contours, grammars, and uses of the mother's languages.


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Professor Marshall R. Childs

Marshall R. Childs is a Professor at Fuji Phoenix College, 81-1 Midono, Shizuoka 412-0001 Gotemba, Japan.