originally written and posted on November 8th, 2009
This is a bit of a rePosting … the original post is here on AllTop, but also included here below …
Just days after birth, babies are much too young to control their vocal cords or the muscles that shape the mouth to make specific sounds. But that doesn’t stop them from communicating in their mother tongue, new research suggests.
The study monitored thirty French and German newborns, and noted distinct differences between the cries of the two tiny groups. The wails mimicked the patterns, rhythms and intensity of their native language. Scientists believe fetuses start to learn the melody of ambient language during the third trimester in the womb. By imitating what they hear, they endear themselves to their mothers.
Plenty more on babies.
And as part of my running commentary and observations about translation and interpretation … I added in the following bloggish commentarium :
i also believe that laughter is something that can reveal mother tongue … we can modify our behaviors, study the specific dialect of varied regions of the word, but when we laugh, when we cry, when we express some intense emotion ( such as anger or grief ) we return to an area of honesty … we are brought back to the place where we grew up, to that area where we first learned our own voice + the voice of our own people
are there other expressions of human emotion that help bring us back to our ‘real’ selves?
for me, its laughter
my laughter, as much as i might try to disguise it, comes with the original accent of my mother tongue … North Shore, Massachusetts ( well, actually i’m originally from Watertown )
i also notice that i am almost good at correctly pronouncing all of my Rs … that is, until i get totally wound up in some sort of anger about something … mostly on the road, perhaps … but i completely lose my Rs and return from whence i came ( language-skills-wise, that is ) when i am totally frustrated and wanna knock somebody’s lights out
not that i speak The Queen’s proper English by any means
but i am keenly aware of what Revere sounds like, what Cambridge tries to sound like, that horrible stigma we have of either sounding like we’re The Jordan’s guys or a Kennedy ( bad actors seem to study the Kennedys to master their New England accent … very bad idea … only the Kennedys talk like that … super annoying to hear top notch talent butchering our accent, just completely missing the bus altogether )
where are you from? is your accent different than you hear it from your childhood days? what aurally returns your voice to that voice of origin? how can we map voice? the delta in voice? inflection? dialect? accent? etcetera?