Baby Talking to Infants Help Them Learn to Talk Faster, Learn Language Skills Earlier

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By Esther Tanquintic-Misa | January 9, 2014 4:55 PM EST

A new research from the University of Washington has revealed baby talking to infants can help them learn to talk faster and learn language skills earlier.

Specifically, parents or caretakers who baby talked infants in one-on-one conversations and emphasised vowels and different sounds within words are helping these young children achieve earlier language development.

REUTERS/Carlos Barria
A man carries a baby at a busy area of downtown Shanghai November 19, 2013. China will further ease its family planning laws after announcing last week that it would allow millions of families to have two children, a senior official from the government's family planning commission said on Tuesday. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

According to Dr Patricia Kuhl at the University of Washington, babies love listening to parentese, that high-pitched baby talk that uses extended vowels. And given a choice, infants would select to listen to parentese over the usual ways adults speak to each other everyday.

Using audio recordings of interactions between 26 children and their mothers, researchers found that babies responded all the more when parents or caretakers spoke in exaggerated 'baby talk' in one-on-one situations. In these times, babies babble, which is a precursor to word production.

"The fact that infant babbling itself plays a role in future language development shows how important the interchange between parent and child is," Ms Kuhl said.

Children who were often baby talked immediately had an average of 433 words by age 2, versus the average 169 words from children who didn't experience being baby talked.

But not all parents apparently can do baby talk. Others have it like it's an additional talent. Others have to cautiously work on it for the sake of their babies. For the latter, scientists advised to try just chatting aloud to your child as you go about your everyday activities.

In a happy voice, speak slowly and emphasise important words by lengthening the vowels.

Such examples are "Where are your shoooes?," "Let's change your naaaappyyyyyy," and "Mm, this tastes goooood!"

"It's not just talk, talk, talk at the child," Ms Kuhl said. "It's more important to work toward interaction and engagement around language. You want to engage the infant and get the baby to babble back. The more you get that serve and volley going, the more language advances."

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(Photo: REUTERS/Carlos Barria / )
A man carries a baby at a busy area of downtown Shanghai November 19, 2013. China will further ease its family planning laws after announcing last week that it would allow millions of families to have two children, a senior official from the government's family planning commission said on Tuesday. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
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