In a recent study published in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience , researchers explored the effect of maternal language on fetal speech perception. Maternal speech exposure during pregnancy influences neonatal speech perception and linguistic preferences, helping them to understand tales and acquire an affinity for their mother's voice and native language. However, the impact of maternal monolingual or multilingual speech on fetal brain systems is unclear.

Bilingualism impacts adult gray and white matter anatomy, with cognitive control and attentional capacities influenced by the age of second language acquisition, language acquisition sequence, and language interaction. Study: Exposure to bilingual or monolingual maternal speech during pregnancy affects the neurophysiological encoding of speech sounds in neonates differently . Image Credit: Natalia Deriabina / Shutterstock In the current neural encoding study, researchers investigated the impact of prenatal language exposure on neonatal language and speech-encoding abilities.

The researchers recruited 131 neonates (mean age post-delivery = 38 hours) from Barcelona's SJD Children's Hospital for analysis. They divided neonates into monolingual and bilingual groups according to parental language use in the last trimester of pregnancy. They used a sociodemographic questionnaire to measure maternal education and musical exposure.

The team allocated 53 neonates exposed to monolingual acoustic environments (MON group, inc.

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