Babies Adopted From Other Countries Have Trouble Speaking Canadian English, French

Filed under: Adoption, In The News

Speaking Canadian

When babies are adopted from other countries, learning the Canadian forms of English and French can be difficult. Credit: Getty Images

Cut babies some slack, eh?

Speaking Canadian is tough. These are people who go out and about and call it being "oot" and "aboot." That's just weird.

And that's just the English speakers. A lot of Canadians speak French.

All this comes naturally for babies born in Canada. But when babies are adopted from other countries, the Canadian Press news service reports, learning the Canadian forms of English and French can be difficult.

Researchers followed children adopted from China and natural-born Canadians, and found the Chinese babies had a harder time picking up the language.

"They are not huge differences, but they are statistically reliable differences," Fred Genesee, the study's director, tells the Canadian Press.

Genesee, a psychology professor at McGill University, conducted the study along with his doctoral student Karine Gauthier. Their findings appear in this month's issue of the journal Child Development.

Genesee and Gauthier compared households of similarly high socio-economic status to provide a valid comparison. The differences are minute, Genesee tells the Canadian Press.

"From most people's point of view they're looking quite typical," Genesee says of the Chinese-born children. "But if you look very carefully you realize there are lags or gaps in their language development taking into account the fact that they're being raised in these fairly enriched kinds of environments."

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