Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald – TRANSCRIPT
Thank you very much. There is a profound predictor of health and wealth that can be determined by three years of age. And that predictor is language. Language is the essence of what it means to be human.
Now, animals may have noises or gestures that they can communicate with, I can assure you my cat can get me up out of the bed at five o’clock in the morning because he is hungry, but human beings are much more adept and much more facile at language.
I can tell you that language in the Oxford Unabridged English Dictionary, there are 600,000 different words that American, that English people can know. Lots of people spoke, speak more than one language. So the ability of humans is enormous, you never really and truly see a chimpanzee or a rhinoceros reading a book, but humans commonly read books, and we understand language.
Babies come into this world acutely programmed to learn all these different words, to learn the essence of language, because language is what makes us human, and quite frankly, language is what makes us survive. There is a huge growth spurt, a huge increase in capacity in the brain by at least a third that occurs in the last part of pregnancy, right before babies come into this world. And I can tell you that babies are hard-wired to learn different languages.
I can tell you that because the important thing about babies is not only that there is the capacity, but how we learn language is from our caretakers. That means mothers and babies have this unique experience. I can tell you from the maternal point of view that I experienced that in my own life.