By  – The Seattle Times

July 31, 2015

The babies who learned the sounds of a foreign language best were the ones who were better at looking back and forth between Spanish-speaking tutors and the toys the tutors described.

Children learn languages so easily that it’s tempting to imagine that they’re passive little sponges soaking up everything they hear.

But a new study from the University of Washington shows that 10-month-old babies use their eyes as well as their ears to learn the sounds of a foreign language.

The study involved 17 babies from English-speaking homes who participated in a dozen 25-minute Spanish lessons.

The babies sat in front of a parent while native Spanish-speakers described a rubber duckie and other toys.

“The babies were very interested in what was going on,” said one of the study’s co-authors, Rechele Brooks, a researcher at the UW Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences. “They’re interacting with the adult, even though the adult is not speaking English with them.”

Read full story here!