German researchers say babies begin to pick up the nuances of their parents' accents while still in the womb.
The researchers studied the cries of 60 healthy babies born to families speaking French and German.
The French newborns cried with a rising "accent" while the German babies' cries had a falling inflection.
Writing in the journal Current Biology, they say the babies are probably trying to form a bond with their mothers by imitating them. The findings suggest that unborn babies are influenced by the sound of the first language that penetrates the womb.