'Baby talk’ helps infant’s word development

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Posted: Wednesday, January 8, 2014 9:52 am | Updated: 9:56 am, Wed Jan 8, 2014.

Using ‘baby talk’ may actually help your baby develop language better, according to new research from the University of Washington.

Researchers studied audio recordings of the interactions between 26 children and their mothers over a four day period. They found the more mothers spoke in the exaggerated ‘baby talk’ in one-on-one situations, the more their babies responded with babbling, which is considered a precursor to word production. Children who were in families who spoke the most ‘baby talk’ knew an average of 433 words by age 2, compared to an average of 169 words from children whose families spoke the least amount of ‘baby talk.’

“It’s not just talk, talk, talk at the child,” co-author of the study Patricia Kuhl was quoted as saying. “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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