Every new parent rejoices (and loses sleep) over the sounds of their newborns crying, but a recent study shows there is something much more complex involved. WebMD reports scientists have discovered that the "the cries of infants as young as three days old already reflect the language their parents speak," and "the surrounding language seems to affect infants’ sound production much earlier than researchers thought."
The study compared the cries of healthy French and German babies with normal hearing and researchers were amazed to discover "the French babies tended to cry with a pattern that speech and language experts call a rising melody contour, which goes from low to high; the German babies typically cried with a falling melody contour, which goes from high to low. The melody contour includes such components as intonation. The cry patterns of the babies, Wermke found, were consistent with the patterns of their native languages."