Highlights

  • Mimicking a baby's voice to talk to them is more powerful than you think
  • 'Baby talk' clues babies to learn how words should be spoken
  • Talking in this manner is crucial in helping infants understand what we're saying

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The value of goo-goo ga-ga: ‘baby talk’ improves infant speech

Mimicking a baby’s voice might sound funny and even frivolous but that’s far from the case.

Mimicking a baby’s voice might sound funny and even frivolous but that’s far from the case.

According to a new study, when parents or adults ‘baby talk’ with their little ones, they might be cluing babies to learn how words should sound coming out of their own mouths.

Our instinctive baby voice, with higher pitch, slower speed, exaggerated pronunciation, is crucial in helping infants understand what we are saying, suggests new research from the University of Florida.

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Writing in the Journal of Speech, Language and Hearing Research, the team explained that baby talk stimulates motor production of speech and not just the perception of speech. In fact, we're priming them to process their own voice.

In the study, six to eight-month-old babies displayed a robust and distinct preference for speech that sounded like their own while four to six-month-olds didn’t have that preference.

Therefore, all that goo-goo ga-ga could be a key component in helping babies form words.

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