Dogs Know When We're Speaking a Foreign Language, Brain Scans Show

Our canine pets are such good social learners that they can detect speech and distinguish languages without any explicit training

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Just like you, your dog knows when someone is speaking your native tongue or a foreign language, Hungarian researchers reported.

Brain scans from 18 dogs showed that some areas of the pups’ brains lit up differently depending on whether the dog was hearing words from a familiar language or a different one, according to a report published in NeuroImage.  

“Dogs are really good in the human environment,” said study author Laura Cuaya, a postdoctoral researcher at the Neuroethology of Communication Lab at Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest, Hungary.

Dogs appear to recognize their owners’ native language based on how it sounds overall, since the experiments did not use words the dogs would have been familiar with, Cuaya said in an email.

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Maddie Mastro is accustomed to being judged while flying through the air in snowboard halfpipe, but when at home, her four rescue dogs keep her grounded, because they don't give or get any points for style.
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