’Babies who hear foreign speech pick up languages faster’
Babies who hear foreign speech in their first nine months of life find it easier to pick up languages in school or as adults, research has found.
But those who hear only English as babies are left unable to distinguish between subtly different sounds not used in their native language.
The findings will provide an excuse for British tourists who have struggled with foreign languages while travelling.
Psychologists at Bristol University found that the developing brain undergoes a period of "programming" in infancy which sets up for life its ability to recognise key sounds in whatever will become its native language.