Baby talk: does it help or hurt how your baby learns language?

Baby talk: does it help or hurt how your baby learns language?

Language Building Skills Language Development Parents' Corner

Often referred to as ‘baby talk’, Motherese (or Parentese or Fatherese) is a term used to describe the quality of speech caregivers often use when speaking to a newborn child. Using a higher pitch, more exaggerated articulation, and great facial expressions, we seem to naturally talk in this manner to babies.

Many have debated the importance or hindrance that use of baby talk has on a child’s speech and language development. Some parents believe that baby talk is an important first step in teaching a child to talk and some believe that using baby talk limits a child’s language comprehension. Researchers have conducted studies to find an answer. While modeling adult language is beneficial to a child’s speech and language development, baby talk has withstood the test of time and been a useful tool in creating a bond between an infant and their parent. This attachment helps a child learn to develop relationships with others throughout life. Babies from many different cultures around the world, speaking many different languages have shown interest in this quality of speech as it grabs their attention. This type of interaction can also give an infant their first experience with social cues such as turn taking and eye contact, and speech sounds.

Within the first days of life, a baby’s brain has remarkable neuroplasticity, meaning they can create new neural connections quickly and absorb new information like a sponge. As they experience their first sights, smells, and sounds, they make many first impressions that are everlasting. Studies have shown that babies often learn to recognize and prefer the sound of their caretaker’s voice. Although researchers have not been able to identify whether it’s more beneficial to use adult speech right from the start, use of brain scanning technology has allowed us to see the reactions infants have to adults using baby talk in their native language as well as foreign languages. This TED talk by Patricia Kuhl discusses one of these studies.

Remember- there is no clearly defined right or wrong style of parenting or teaching. If you are a new parent, no matter how you choose to speak to your child, just make sure you do it! Even when you are not speaking directly to an infant, they’re constantly taking in information and making connections. Whether by choice or instinct, if you do use motherese with your child, it is recommended that this type of speech be weaned off as the child reaches toddlerhood and begins develop speech and language skills.

More resources to check out:

ASHA: How Babies Form Foundations for Language 

TED: The Surprisingly Logical Minds of Babies

Photo credit: www.prettymomguide.com

Late Talker vs. Speech Delay in Toddlers

Late Talker vs. Speech Delay in Toddlers

Language Development Speech Disorders Speech Therapist

Worried about your toddler’s development in speech and language? Don’t hit the panic button yet! There’s a chance your child could just be a late talker. A late talker is a toddler between the ages of 18 to 30 months, who is developing normal play, social, thinking and motor skills, but who is limited in spoken vocabulary for their age. Most late talkers have difficulty with expressive language. Expressive language is used by toddlers when they are communicating their wants and needs. For examply, asking for “milk” is a way that toddlers use expressive language to communicate their desire for a particular drink.

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Top 10 Most Mispronounced Words and Phrases

Top 10 Most Mispronounced Words and Phrases

Hearing and Speech
Most Common Mispronounced Words

Most Common Mispronounced Words

As Better Hearing and Speech Month comes to a close, we thought we’d celebrate with a little humor. You may have been speaking English for 15 days, 20 months or even decades, but English is tricky when it comes to certain pronunciations. There are a number of commonly used words in our daily lives that are often mispronounced.

Are you sure that you are pronouncing all of your words correctly?  If you are interviewing for a job, going on a date, or trying to make a good first impression, it’s vital that you are confident in your speech and pronunciation skills. Chances are, you may be mispronouncing at least one of the words below. Alas, it’s not too late to train your brain and tongue to speak each word the right way.  Often, these errors are caused by simply speaking too quickly. Slow down and you may get them all correct!
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What Everyone Needs to Know About Articulation Disorders

Articulation Disorders Language Development Parents' Corner Phonological Processing Disorder Speech delay Speech Disorders Speech Therapist

 

What is an Articulation Disorder?

What is an Articulation Disorder?

This week, we are taking a fresh and in-depth look at articulation disorders in children, including trying to decipher what is fact, fiction and frankly what you need to know about articulation disorders in relation to normal speech development milestones.

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Tonsils and Adenoids – How Do They Impact Speech?

Language Development
Image Courtesy of medimiss.net

Image Courtesy of medimiss.net

Are you familiar with what your tonsils and adenoids do? Plug your nose and try to have it not affect the quality or clarity of your speech. You voice changes because you have just blocked an important part of what your body uses for verbal communication – the nasal passageway. This is often the same result you get when you have a cold or allergies, but it could also be a case of enlarged tonsils and adenoids that are preventing clear speaking from occurring. Continue reading