Infantilizing babies helps them learn language

Infantilizing babies helps them learn language

Enlarge (credit:
flickr user: Lars Plougmann
)

Confronted with a baby—or puppy—most adults can’t stop
themselves from dissolving into baby talk: “WHO’S the cutest?
It’s YOU! YES it IS!” We slow down, increase our pitch by
nearly an octave, and milk each vowel for all it’s worth. And
even if the baby can’t speak yet, we mimic the turn-taking of a
conversation.

This “parentese” is found across cultures, and babies
exposed to more of it at home seem to do better at acquiring their
home language. But it’s not all about instinct: a paper published
in PNAS this week suggests that parents can be trained to improve
their parentese and that this training gives their babies’
language a boost.

Learning to baby talk

Why does more parentese go hand-in-hand with language
acquisition? It’s an open question. Recordings from parents and
children in their homes show a correlation—the more parentese
there is, the more likely the babies are to be a little more
advanced with their language abilities. But is the parentese itself
actually helping? And if so, how? Or is there another factor at
play that boosts them both?

Read 11
remaining paragraphs

Source: FS – All – Science – News
Infantilizing babies helps them learn language