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How do infants learn new languages?

How do infants learn new languages?
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An early social behaviour called gaze shifting is linked to infants\' ability to learn sounds of new languages, says a new study. Gaze shifting, when a baby makes eye contact and then looks at the same object that the other person is looking at is one of the earliest social skills that babies show.

Washington: An early social behaviour called gaze shifting is linked to infants' ability to learn sounds of new languages, says a new study. Gaze shifting, when a baby makes eye contact and then looks at the same object that the other person is looking at is one of the earliest social skills that babies show.

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Babies about 10 months old who engaged in more gaze shifting during sessions with a foreign language tutor showed a boost in brain response that indicates language learning. For the study, babies from English speaking households attended foreign language tutoring sessions.


Over four weeks, the 17 infants interacted with a tutor during 12 sessions of 25 minutes each. The tutors read books and talked and played with toys while speaking in Spanish. The more gaze shifting the babies participated in during their tutoring sessions, the greater their brain responses were to the Spanish language sounds.

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