- 2017年12月06日15:54 来源：小站整理
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Long before they can actually speak, babies pay special attention to the speech they hear
around them. Within the first month of their lives, babies' responses to the sound of the human
voice will be different from their responses to other sorts of auditory stimuli. They will stop crying
when they hear a person talking, but not if they hear a bell or the sound of a rattle. At first, the
sounds that an infant notices might be only those words that receive the heaviest emphasis and that
often occur at the ends of utterances. By the time they are six or seven weeks old, babies can
detect the difference between syllables pronounced with rising and falling inflections. Very soon,
these differences in adult stress and intonation can influence babies' emotional states and behavior.
Long before they develop actual language comprehension, babies can sense when an adult is
playful or angry, attempting to initiate or terminate new behavior, and so on, merely on the basis
of cues such as the rate, volume, and melody of adult speech.
Adults make it as easy as they can for babies to pick up a language by exaggerating such cues.
One researcher observed babies and their mothers in six diverse cultures and found that, in all six
languages, the mothers used simplified syntax, short utterances and nonsense sounds, and
transformed certain sounds into baby talk. Other investigators have noted that when mothers talk
to babies who are only a few months old, they exaggerate the pitch, loudness, and intensity of their
words. They also exaggerate their facial expressions, hold vowels longer, and emphasize certain
More significant for language development than their response to general intonation is
observation that tiny babies can make relatively fine distinctions between speech sounds. In other
words, babies enter the world with the ability to make precisely those perceptual discriminations
that are necessary if they are to acquire aural language.
Babies obviously derive pleasure from sound input, too: even as young as nine months they
will listen to songs or stories, although the words themselves are beyond their understanding. For
babies, language is a sensory-motor delight rather than the route to prosaic meaning that it often is
1. What does the passage mainly discuss?
(A) How babies differentiate between the sound of the human voice and other sounds
(B) The differences between a baby's and an adult's ability to comprehend language
(C) How babies perceive and respond to the human voice in their earliest stages of language
(D) The response of babies to sounds other than the human voice
2. Why does the author mention a bell and a rattle in lines 4-5?
(A) To contrast the reactions of babies to human and nonhuman sounds
(B) To give examples of sounds that will cause a baby to cry
(C) To explain how babies distinguish between different nonhuman sounds
(D) To give examples of typical toys that babies do not like
3. Why does the author mention syllables pronounced with rising and falling inflections in lines
(A) To demonstrate how difficult it is for babies to interpret emotions
(B) To illustrate that a six-week-old baby can already distinguish some language differences
(C) To provide an example of ways adults speak to babies
(D) To give a reason for babies' difficulty in distinguishing one adult from another
4. The word "diverse" in line 14 is closest in meaning to
5. The word "noted" in line 17 is closest in meaning to
6. The word "They" in line 18 refers to
7. The passage mentions all of the following as ways adults modify their speech when talking to
(A) giving all words equal emphasis
(B) speaking with shorter sentences
(C) speaking more loudly than normal
(D) using meaningless sounds
8. The word "emphasize" in line 19 is closest in meaning to
(D) leave out
9. Which of the following can be inferred about the findings described in paragraph 2?
(A) Babies who are exposed to more than one language can speak earlier than babies exposed to a
(B) Mothers from different cultures speak to their babies in similar ways.
(C) Babies ignore facial expressions in comprehending aural language.
(D) The mothers observed by the researchers were consciously teaching their babies to speak.
10. What point does the author make to illustrate that babies are born with the ability to acquire
(A) Babies begin to understand words in songs.
(B) Babies exaggerate their own sounds and expressions.
(C) Babies are more sensitive to sounds than are adults.
(D) Babies notice even minor differences between speech sounds.
11. According to the author, why do babies listen to songs and stories, even though they cannot
(A) They understand the rhythm.
(B) They enjoy the sound.
(C) They can remember them easily.
(D) They focus on the meaning of their parents' words.
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