Baby Talk

“… Verbally engaging with babies—listening to their gurgles and coos and then responding, conversation-style—may speed up their language development more than simply talking at them or around them.”

baby talk

Babies sometimes have the magical ability to make adults tongue-tied. How does one respond to a baby’s vocalizations? A recent study in Infancy by researchers from the University of Iowa and Indiana University has revealed that responding “sensitively” to a baby’s vocalizations increases their language development. Rather, babies’ language development can benefit from parents “pretending to understand” and carrying on an adult-like conversation in response to baby sounds.

Having these conversations with a baby is thought to be integral to a baby’s understanding of vocalizations as a means of communication, not just a method of fun sound-making. “The infants were using vocalizations in a communicative way, in a sense, because they learned they are communicative,” study author Julie Gros-Louis claims.

This study suggests that there is likely no secret formula for talking to babies, but rather the best way to communicate with them is as if they were adults. Just as it is important that parents talk to babies frequently, it is also crucial that they talk to them in a way that benefits their language development.

Read the full article from The Atlantic here: http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2014/08/pretending-to-understand-what-babies-say-can-make-them-smarter/379324/?utm_source=SFFB

Read the study’s abstract here: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/infa.12054/abstract

Authored by Cassy Gibson, Community Bridges Intern, Rice University School Literacy and Culture

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