213 of 232 people found the following review helpful
In praise of "Baby Einstein",
By A Customer
This review is from: Baby Einstein [VHS] (VHS Tape)This "video board book" does a number of things very well. Much like a standard board book, it shows infants bright, high-contrast images. But this video version also plays soothing and sometimes spunky melodies. It also lets children hear speakers of more than half a dozen foreign languages, including Hebrew, Russian and Japanese.
This feature of the video is confusing to many parents of potential viewers. Will the video teach junior to speak one of the foreign languages on the tape? Not exactly. Will it make junior a little Einstein? Not exactly. What good is it, then?
What the video DOES do is help the mind preserve many of the nerve synapses in the brain which would otherwise be destroyed as the infant matures into a toddler.
Imagine a Bonsai tree, of which some of its miniature limbs and branches are trimmed because they are not useful to the tree as a whole. The body does the same thing to unused mental synapses sometime around the first and second years of life. And they don't grow back.
Now think about all the funny comedy scenarios you've seen where a Japanese tourist says something like, "Herro, I'm rooking for Horrywood, Carifornia." Why do his Ls sound like Rs? Because there is NO "R" sound (phoneme) in the Japanese language. And because our tourist never heard that sound in his infancy, he cannot now, as an adult, discern it from the phonemically-similar "L" sound.
Infants hearing a variety of phonemes foreign to English-speaking people at this young age will preserve the synapses that are sensitized (from birth) to these sounds. And this video does just that.
So while the video will not teach junior the foreign language, if he tries to learn the language later, he will have an easier time of it, because he will be sensitized to that language's sounds. And while junior perhaps will not be an Einstein for watching, he will come away from the experience with more synapses in his brain than had he not watched.
Also be aware that none of this is pop psychology -- it is well-researched and tested fact, taught in most undergraduate and graduate psychology, speech and linguistics classes today (See the producer's Web site for details).
Finally, as other reviewers have said better than I have, the video is a lot of fun for you and junior to watch together! And perhaps THAT is the selling point for prospective parents who want the best for their little ones.
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Initial post: May 22, 2007 9:34:04 AM PDT
This is only true with real-life sound, though. A DVD language "teacher" is metallic sound. Metallic sound is processed in a different part of the brain. You can still use this, though, but you'll have to amend it with your own un-recorded voice. If you work along with the video, repeating the words to your child, he/she will process them, using their brain's language tracks, and therefore highly likely to keep those sounds. Additionally, if your child is able to talk now and repeats the words correctly, they've got it, more than likely, permanently! After the age of 12 is when the language tracks begin to erode. I would also speak the words to your child at times when the DVD is not playing. Be sure to use the best pronunciation you can muster; it does make a big difference. This is why I had my young daughter take Spanish lessons from a tutor who had spoken Spanish when he was a child.
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