English-speaking children absorb the idea of the number one sooner than Japanese- and Chinese-speaking children, whereas Slovenian-speaking toddlers learn "2" faster than English-speaking ones.

A new study suggests that the differences come from the languages themselves. English differentiates between singular and plural nouns (1 car, 2 cars), while Japanese and Chinese don’t. In the meantime, Slovenian and Arabic, two unrelated languages, have different ways of saying singular nouns, nouns in twos, and nouns in numbers three or greater. In Slovenian, for instance, one button is a gumb, two buttons are gumba, and three or more buttons are gumbi. These distinctions help children understand those differences in numbers faster.

As the children got grow up, English-speaking kids outstripped their Slovenian peers in knowing greater numbers. This may be because Slovenian parents don't often explicitly teach their children to count the way English-speaking parents do, the scholars wrote.

Therefore, there are many ways of affecting when kids learn different numbers. The study indicated that language structure is particularly essential for the lower numbers. For numbers higher than four, however, other research has found children learn those by other processes.

Pin It