• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

There are between 4,000 and 6,000 languages remaining in the world and the characteristics of these languages vary widely. How could an infant born today master any language in the world, regardless of the language's characteristics?

The First Twenty-Four Months
The first twenty-four months
The Infant at Birth

▴ Photo 3.1 The infant is wearing headphones. At what age do you think that infants typically start listening closely to speech sounds and music?

According to the view that the infant comes into the world as a tabula rasa, or blank slate, one would expect the infant to come into the world knowing nothing. Research suggests that this extreme view is incorrect. Children come into the world with some pretty amazing inborn behaviors. For example, they come equipped with reflexes, which are the result of innate mechanisms. Table 3.1 describes some of these reflexes. At birth, all infants display the stepping reflex, which occurs when infants’ feet come in contact with the ground ...

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