Warning messageThis content is filtered. APPPAH membership is required for full access to journal articles.
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.
Armitage, S. E., Baldwin, B. A., & Vince, M. A. (1980). The fetal sound environment of sheep. Science, 208, 1173-1174.
Aslin, R. N. (1987). Visual and auditory development in infancy. In J. D. Osofsky (Ed.), Handbook of infant development (2nd ed., pp. 5-97). New York: Wiley.
Birnholz, J. C., & Benacerraf, B. R. (1983). The development of human fetal hearing. Science, 222, 516-518.
Brown, R. (1973). A first language: The early stages. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Carmichael, L. (1970). Onset and early development of behavior. In P. H. Mussen (Ed.), Carmichael's manual of child psychology (3rd ed., Vol. 1, pp. 447-563). New York: Wiley.
Chamberlain, D. B. (1987). Consciousness at birth: The range of empirical evidence. In T. R. Verny (Ed.), Pre- and perinatal psychology: An introduction (pp. 69-90). New York: Human Sciences Press.
Chamberlain, D. B. (1997). Early and very early parenting: New territories. Journal of Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and Health, 12(2), 51-59.
Chomsky, N. (1965). Aspects of the theory of syntax, Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.
Chomsky, N. (1986). Knowledge of language: Its nature, origin, and use. New York: Praeger.
Cook, V. J., & Newson, M. (1996). Chomsky's universal grammar: An introduction (2nd ed.). Oxford: Blackwell.
Curtiss, S. (1977). Genie: A psycholinguistic study of a modern-day "wild child" New York: Academic Press.
Cutler, A. (1994). Segmentation problems, rhythmic solutions. In L. Gleitman & B. Landau (Eds.), The acquisition of the lexicon (pp. 81-104). Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.
Cytowic, R. E. (1996). The neurological side of neuropsychology. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.
DeCasper, A. J., & Fifer, W. P. (1980). Of human bonding: Newborns prefer their mothers' voices. Science, 208, 1174-1175.
Devlin, B., Daniels, M., & Roeder, K. (1997). The heritability of IQ. Nature, 388, 468-471.
Eimas, P. D. (1985). The perception of speech in early infancy. Scientific American, 252, 46-52.
Eimas, P. D., & Miller, J. L. (1992). Organization in the perception of speech by young infants. Psychological Science, 3, 340-345.
Eisenberg, A., Murkoff, H. E., & Hathaway, S. E. (1991). What to expect when you're expecting (2nd ed.). New York: Workman.
Eisenberg, R. B. (1969). Auditory behavior in the human neonate: Functional properties of sound and their ontogenetic implications. International Audiology, 8, 34-45.
Ellis, N. C. (1996). Sequencing in SLA: Phonological memory, chunking, and points of order. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 18, 91-126.
Hirsh-Pasek, K., Kemler Nelson, D. G., Jusczyk, P. W., Cassidy, K. W., Druss, B., & Kennedy, L. (1987). Clauses are perceptual units for young infants. Cognition, 26, 269-286.
Hirsh-Pasek, K, Tucker, M., & Golinkoff, R. M. (1996). Dynamic systems theory: Reinterpreting "prosodic bootstrapping" and its role in language acquisition. In J. L. Morgan & K. Demuth (Eds.), Signal to syntax: bootstrapping from speech to grammar in early acquisition (pp. 449-466). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
Kuhl, P. K., Williams, K. A., Lacerda, F., Stevens, K. N., & Lindblom, B, (1992). Linguistic experience alters phonetic perception in infants by 6 months of age. Science, 255, 606-608.
Lafuente, M. J., Grifol, R., Segarra, J., Soriano, J., Gorba, M. A., & Montesinos, A. (1997). Effects of the Firstart method of prenatal stimulation on psychomotor development: The first six months. Pre- and Perinatal Psychology Journal, 11(3), 151-162.
Landahl, K. (1982). The onset of structural discourse: A developmental study of the acquisition of language. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Brown University.
Lashley, K. S. (1951). The problem of serial order in behavior. In L. A. Jeffress (Ed.), Cerebral mechanisms in behavior: The Hixon Symposium (pp. 112-146). New York: John Wiley.
Lenneberg, E. H. (1967). Biological foundations of language. New York: Wiley.
Lieberman, P. (1984). The biology and evolution of language. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Locke, J. L. (1988). The sound shape of early lexical representations. In M. D. Smith & J. L. Locke (Eds.), The emergent lexicon: The child's development of a linguistic vocabulary (pp. 3-22). San Diego: Academic Press.
Ludington-Hoe, S. (with Golant, S. K.). (1985). How to have a smarter baby. New York: Bantam.
Marin-Padilla, M. (1993). Pathogenesis of late-acquired leptomeningeal heterotopias and secondary cortical alterations: A Golgi study. In A. M. Galaburda (Ed.), Dyslexia and development: Neurobiological aspects of extra-ordinary brains (pp. 64-88, 313-317). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Mehler, J., & Christophe, A. (1995). Maturation and learning of language in the first year of life. In M. S. Gazzaniga (Editor-in-Chief) & S. Pinker (Language Section Ed.), The Cognitive Neurosciences (pp. 943-954). Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.
Mehler, J., & Dupoux, E. (1994). What infants know: The new cognitive science of early development (P. Southgate, Trans.). Cambridge, MA: Blackwell.
Miller, G. A. (1990). The place of language in a scientific psychology. Psychological Science, 1, 7-14.
Mohanan, K. P. (1992). Emergence of complexity in phonological development. In C. A. Ferguson, L. Menn, & C. Stoel-Gammon (Eds.), Phonological development: Models, research, implications (pp. 635-662). Timonium, MD: York.
Morgan, J. L., & Demuth, K. (1996). Signal to syntax: An Overview. In J. L. Morgan & K. Demuth (Eds.), Signal to syntax: bootstrapping from speech to grammar in early acquisition (pp. 1-22). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
Nelson, K. (1996). Language in cognitive development: Emergence of the mediated mind. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Otake, T., Hatano, G., Cutler, A., & Mehler, J. (1993). Mora or syllable? Speech segmentation in Japanese. Journal of Memory and Language, 32, 258-278.
Owens, R. E., Jr. (1996). Language development: An introduction (4th ed.). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
Pawley, A., & Syder, F. H. (1983). Two puzzles for linguistic theory: Nativelike selection and nativelike fluency. In J. C. Richards & R. W. Schmidt (Eds.), Language and communication (pp. 191-226). London: Longman.
Peiper, A. (1925). Sinnesempfindungen des Kindes vor seiner Geburt [Sensory experiences of infants before their birth]. Monatsschrift Kinderheilkunde, 29, 236-241.
Peters, A. (1977). Language learning strategies: Does the whole equal the sum of the parts? Language, 53, 560-573.
Rhighetti, P. L. (1996). The emotional experience of the fetus: A preliminary report. Preand Perinatal Psychology Journal, 11(1), 55-65.
Schwartz, F. J. (1997). Perinatal stress reduction, music and medical cost-savings. Preand Perinatal Psychology Journal, 12(1), 19-29.
Shattuck, R. (1994). The forbidden experiment: The story of the wild boy of Aveyron. New York: Kodansha.
Silverstein, S. (1964). The giving tree. New York: HarperCollins.
Simos, P. G., & Molfese, D. L. (1997). Electrophysiological responses from a temporal order continuum in the newborn infant. Neuropsychologia, 35, 89-98.
Studdert-Kennedy, M. (1991). Language development from an evolutionary perspective. In N. A. Krasnegor, D. M. Rumbaugh, R. L. Schiefelbusch, & M. Studdert-Kennedy (Eds.), Biological and behavioral determinants of language development (pp. 5-28). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
Tomatis, A. A. (1987). Ontogenesis of the faculty of listening. In T. R. Verny (Ed.), Preand perinatal psychology: An introduction (pp. 23-35). New York: Human Sciences Press.
Trevarthen, C., & Aitken, K. J. (1994). Brain development, infant communication, and empathy disorders: Intrinsic factors in child mental health. Development and Psychopathology, 6, 597-633.
Truby, H. M. (1975). Prenatal and neonatal speech, "pre-speech", and an infantilespeech lexicon. Word, 27, 57-100.
Truby, H. M., & Lind, J. (1965). Cry sounds of the newborn infant. Acta Paediatrica Scandinavica, Suppl. 163.
Waterson, N. (1971). Child phonology: A prosodie view. Journal of Linguistics, 7, 179-211.
Whalen, D. H., & Liberman, A. M. (1987). Speech perception takes precedence over nonspeech perception. Science, 237, 169-171.
Professor Marshall R. Childs
Marshall R. Childs is a Professor at Fuji Phoenix College, 81-1 Midono, Shizuoka 412-0001 Gotemba, Japan.
To speak with a representative about our products and services or for technology inquiries, please call 1-720-490-5612.