They said that if parents want their infant to grow up speaking like an adult they should talk to them like they are adults. So that's what me and my husband are doing. But new research from Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Wisconsin confirms that talking to babies in baby talk, as mothers have been doing for centuries, is pretty effective and helps them learn language faster. It is clear that infants like listening to baby talk better than adult speech. So i better change my style.
He said further that babies in the study were able to identify specific words from nonsense sentences more quickly when the sentences were delivered in baby talk than when they were delivered in the more monotone cadence characteristic of adult speech.
Lead researcher Erik D. Thiessen, PhD, of Carnegie Mellon University says the infants learned words about 25% faster when exposed to baby talk.
What is baby talk?
Known in language development circles as infant-directed speech, baby talk is characterized by short, simple sentences delivered in a high-pitched, sing-song voice. Vowels are also dragged out, and each word of a sentence tends to be clearly spoken.
Thiessen says baby talk and the exaggerated body language that goes along with it tends to grab an infant's attention. And the simple sentence structure and slow word delivery make it easier for infants to learn.
"It isn't that babies can't learn from adult-directed speech," he tells WebMD. "They will figure it out eventually no matter how they are talked to. They just tend to learn a little faster with infant-directed speech."
The findings may also help explain why adults have so much trouble learning a second language, even though they are able to speak their own language effortlessly, Thiessen says. Adults tend to learn individual words of a new language easily. But they often have trouble understanding the language when it is spoken by native speakers because words tend to run together and no longer make sense.
"There may be something about the simplified way that people talk to infants that makes it easier to break into a new language and figure out what is going on," he says.
Talk Silly to Baby
The new research should help calm the fears of parents who have heard that baby talk could slow their child's verbal learning, says researcher Roberta Michnick Golinkoff, PhD. Michnick Golinkoff directs the Infant Language Project at the University of Delaware and is co-author of the books How Babies Talk and Einstein Never Used Flash Cards.
"We know that infant-directed speech really helps babies break up the speech stream to find the individual words," she tells WebMD.
"Parents should feel comfortable talking silly to their babies. Babies love it and it helps them learn."
"According to research conducted by Janellen Huttenlocher, the actual size of a toddler's vocabularly is strongly correlated with how much her mother talks to her. Dr. Huttenlocher found at twenty months old, the children of chatty mothers averaged 131 more words than the children of mothers who didn't speak much. At two years of age, the gap more than doubled to 295 words.
"Other researchers have found that talking to children a lot not only affects their vocabularly, but also their intelligence. Betty Hart, PhD, and Todd R. Risley, PhD, observed how parents interacted with their one- and two-year-old children. At age three, the ones who scored the highest on intelligence quotient (IQ) and language tests were the ones who had heard the greatest number of words at one and two.
"Even though your baby may be surrounded by conversation from birth on, it is important that you talk directly to her before she can talk back to you. You don't need to ask her a lot of questions or require her to respond. Your purpose is to build her understanding of language to help enhance her expression of language."
"A good enough reasons to start having silly conversations to my daughter!"
What about you? What are your ways in helping your children talk faster? Do you mind to share?