A research study on babies has revealed that human beings are born with the innate abilities necessary to choose words from the language.
The international team of researchers discovered two mechanisms in 3-day babies, who gave them the ability to choose words in a stream of sounds.
Discovery provides a key insight into the first step in learning the language.
The study, published in Science of development, is a collaboration between SISSA scientists in Italy, the Neurospin Center of France, the University of Liverpool and the University of Manchester. It was funded by the European Research Council.
One of the mechanisms discovered by the team is known as prosody: the melody of language, which allows us to recognize when a word begins and stops.
And another one that calls language statistics, which describes how we calculate the frequency of joining the sounds in a word.
Dr. Alissa Ferry of the University of Manchester said: "We believe that this study highlights how sentimental babies really are and how much information they are absorbing.
"This is very important for new parents and gives them an idea of how your baby is listening to them."
Dr. Ana Flò de Neurospin said: "Language is incredibly complicated and this study tries to understand how children try to make sense when they are listening.
"We often think that language is made up of words, but words often blur out when we speak. Therefore, one of the first steps to learning the language is choosing words.
"Our study shows that, with only 3 days of age, without understanding what it means, they are capable of choosing individual words from the discourse.
"And we have identified two important tools that we have been born with almost natality, which gives them the ability to do so."
The researchers played children a 3 minute and a half audio clip where four meaningless words were buried in a stream of syllables.
The use of a painless technique called Near-Infrared Spectroscopy, which illuminates the brain, was able to measure how much they absorb, telling them which parts of the brain were active.
Perrine Brusini, from the University of Liverpool, said: "Then we had children listening to individual words and found that their brain responded differently to words that they heard in slightly different words.
"This proved that even born babies can choose individual words from the language.