What you ask? I thought all cultures did baby talk….. Well, a new UC study has discovered that babies actually process words from adults just like us and baby talk comes across as noise to them. Of course babies still love all the attention they are getting when being baby talked too. Looks like those that choose to baby talk just slow the child’s ability to learn correct speech and could possible cause speech problems down the road.
Babies who are just over a year old are capable of both processing and understanding the meaning of the words they hear from adults in the same way that adults do.
Up until now, many believed that babies used a mechanism of learning words that was different than the way adults learn words. Language is an aspect of learning that was thought to start out as a basic system that evolves into the vocabulary adults use. But now, researchers are beginning to find that babies may understand language better than we think.
“Babies are using the same brain mechanisms as adults to access the meaning of words from what is thought to be a mental ‘database’ of meanings, a database which is continually being updated right into adulthood,” said Travis.
Researchers came to this conclusion after studying different areas of the brain associated with language. These areas included Broca’s and Wernicke’s, which, when lesions are present, are two parts of the brain that are associated with language loss in adults. In addition, researchers studied the right hemisphere and inferior frontal regions, which may be areas of the brain that are highly responsible for language. But this is just a theory, and researchers set out to learn more about where our understanding of language comes from by studying effects of brain deficits.
Also, researchers looked into the way babies process and understand words by observing the activation of different cortical areas when responding to stimuli. To do this, they used an imaging process called MEG, which measures small magnetic fields that are produced by neurons in the brain. MRI was also used to measure brain activity in the babies.
Babies who were 12 to 18 months old were exposed to different words and sounds in order to see if they could tell the difference between an actual word and a sound that is similar to how that word sounds. Next, pictures were shown accompanying the words to see if babies understood the meaning of the words. Sometimes the words wouldn’t match the picture, just to see if the babies could understand that it was incorrect. For instance, a researcher may show a baby a picture of a ball and say “ball,” then show a picture of a dog and say “cat.” These tests were also given to adults in order to compare brain activity.
When should my child be able to speak?
Most babies say their first word at 11-14 months. Of course some babies have been able to pronounce simple sentences by the age of 6-7 months. Usually a babies first wordsare “Da-da” or “Ma-Ma” because they have heard these words the most. I have heard about a babies first words being curse words….. obviously, WHATEVER the baby hears most often will probably be it’s first word.
So to make this post more interesting, have you ever used baby talk in an adult situation? I left a restaurant once and the hostess said have a good night, I turned and responded, “Nigh-Night!”…….. not my typical response…… You have any funny stories of using child talk while out and about?