“And said unto them, Whosoever shall receive this child in my name receiveth me: and whosoever shall receive me receiveth him that sent me: for he that is least among you all, the same shall be great.”
The evidence continues to mount that human beings, unlike any other creature on earth, are born with language ability. We even begin learning the unique characteristics of our own languages at a young age.
Research shows that children as young as two months old have already learned to distinguish characteristic vowel and consonant sounds in whatever language those around the children regularly speak. Researchers rewarded infants who responded with a head turn in the direction of the test sound. Vowel and consonant sounds distinctive to English and Swedish were used. American infants responded to English sounds two-thirds of the time. Swedish infants ignored these sounds as gibberish. Swedish infants responded to the Swedish test sounds two-thirds of the time. American infants ignored these as gibberish.
Researchers say that this shows that the children have already begun classifying the elements of language that they hear every day. This is the first step in organizing these sounds into meaningful words. Other research shows that by six months of age infants already understand the basic emotional tones of language. Learning to speak takes longer.
The human ability to learn language appears to be pre-programmed into the infant brain. God created human beings for a relationship with Himself. Because He loves even the least among us, He gave infants built-in language skills. He couldn’t wait to begin communicating with each new human being born into the world!
You, Lord, are the Creating Word made flesh for our salvation. I thank You for the gift of language. Help my language to praise and honor You. Help me to tell others about Your forgiving love for us. Amen.
“Baby’s first Phonemes.” Science News, Feb. 8, 1992, p. 91. “The Rules of Baby Talk.” Science News, Vol. 122, p. 216. Photo: Courtesy of Sabrina Campagna. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.