When you have a baby around you, you have to be very careful with what you say around them, or to them. When you curse, yell, get angry, or be too loud around a pregnant woman or a baby, people say, ‘Hush, the baby is listening.’ You read to your little angel, ask things to him, and make funny sounds to entertain them. It’s no myth that babies can understand what you’re saying. A famous study now shows that baby talking helps babies to learn a language, or their very first language.
Babies learn a language by listening to individual words, it’s rhythm, etc. They also observe the changes between high and low pitch, and the loudness of each syllable. Parents often exaggerate their speech when they talk to babies, which plays an important role in language learning in babies.
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1. So The Question Is, Is Baby Talk Really Good For Your Baby?
The process of learning languages in babies starts in the womb of the mother. In the third trimester of pregnancy, babies start paying attention to and respond to words and baby talking that they hear. The intonation of the mother’s speech travels through the fluids in the womb to the infant’s ears.
This sound might appear closer to how you hear things under water. It is difficult to understand individual sounds, but the intonation and the rhythm of the speech is clearly understood. By the time the baby is born, the mother already has already developed a preferences language with her baby (PDF). The infant, at this stage, is able to identify language though the intonation patterns it has been hearing and trying to understand.
A simple example, French and Russian speakers place emphasis on different parts of a word of a sentence, which makes these two languages sound very different from each other.
This means that the infant is ready to learn the language that surrounds it, and is already learning the language which the mother speaks, drawn to the language more by its features and patterns within it.
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2. How Efficient Is A Singsong Voice?
Babies register language and words in a very special way. This is called the “baby talk” or “motherese”. It involves a higher pitch than regular speech with exaggerated intonations and changes. Research shows that they love listening to this “baby talk”. The babies pay more attention when a parent’s speech has a higher and a wider pitch range.
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3. Can A Baby Learn Two Languages At One Time?
A mother might call “baby” in an exaggerated and a “singsong” like voice. This holds the attention of the babies for a long time. Words produced like this make it easier for babies to pick out smaller parts of a language. When a baby listens to various kind of languages on a daily basis, they filter the words which they remember from the “baby talk” and process languages easily.
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4. How Infants Process Speech Around Them?
The words they like to hear in “baby talk” always is in the end of the sentence. A sentence ‘Do you like this doggie’ is always easily understood over ‘Do you like this dog’. Such words are isolated from the rest of the words in the sentence, which makes them understand the words better. Infants also find it easier to recognize words when they are spoken more slowly than the adult speech. This way they pick out individual words and sounds and learn how to relate to them in their mind.