Words to the Womb: Baby Talk

Do you remember your first word? How about the first word you heard? I’ll assume not. If you can, I have a feeling you’re not being honest. What I bet you do all know, strike that, I hope you all know, is that in the presence of young and impressionable ears, like say, those of young children, it is considered, nay, expected that you use polite and respectful language.

Kids might and often do pick up on all the words we use, you might even have had one of these horrible experiences when letting a ‘bad’ word slip, somehow a child knows that this word is interesting, so proceeds to make an example of you by rattling the word off another hundred times in front of your guests! Not ideal. So in order to remain in the good books and keep the children innocent of foul language, one must be consciously aware at all times of the words used to vocalize one’s thoughts.

I’m not going to get into a debate here about what ‘bad’ words are and if it’s okay to let kids use them or at what age it is acceptable, rather I am here to talk about the age at which they can start to perceive language, at what stage of life human beings start to recognize language cues. You might be surprised…

In the womb. Yes, before the child is even born.

During a study, at approximately 29 weeks in utero children were exposed to fake words, and then reheard them upon birth and were able to distinguish them. The experiment was conducted by a group of Finnish researchers; mothers were asked to play CDs that comprised music, four minute tracks within which there were hundreds of repetitions of the fake word “tatata,” at some instances they changed it to “tatota,” and in others there was “tatata” again, however the middle syllable was raised or lowered. The mothers played these CDs five to seven times per week. The results were gathered by using a ‘mismatch response,’ attaching electrodes to the newborns and evaluating the electrical impulses within their brains when they heard the words ‘tatata,’ ‘tatota,’ or the ‘tatata.’ The babies showed a response to the words, almost four times stronger than untrained newborns, thus supporting the idea that you can start teaching children while they still reside in the womb.

On a related note this is very similar to the idea of the Mozart effect, which purposes that the children gain a higher IQ if exposed to classical music while still in the womb. It can also be very beneficial to those at any age.

So go now! Take some beautiful music and play it to the belly of a lucky lady, speak not to the face but to the navel, teach your children before you can even see them; and remember, foul and derogatory language should never be used in the presence of a child, or a lady for that matter!

What do you think of this? Would you play classical music and read to a child while still in the womb? Or is this just all a load of baloney?