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Babies learning

  1. Nov 14, 2003 #1
    I was sitting on a bus yesterday, when I overheard a parent doing the whole "baby talk" thing with his child. It occured to me that the baby would most likely begin to learn english based mostly upon baby talk, and by evesdropping on adult conversation.

    Do you think that if parents were to talk proper english, and use phoneticly complex words with many syllables that the babies learning would be impaired? Or would it gives such babies a heard start?

    Hehe.. the thought just occured to me of a scientist parent reading journals to his/her child as a bed time story..
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  3. Nov 15, 2003 #2

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    I strongly beleive that the early early life of a child has a strong formative influence on the rest of their life, and so I intended on surrounding my child with educational stuff (science stuff etc), and I will probably read them stuff which is a toned down version of philosophy and science...

    I doubt I will read them science journals though. But it is an interesting idea.
  4. Nov 15, 2003 #3


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    Do you still remember the things you were told as a one-year old? I think the baby-talk is an evolutionary means of getting the baby to talk. If you are talking complex syllables, the child will have a very hard difficulty immitating. If you start with the simple things, dada boeboe kiekie, the pallet of the baby will form so that the appropriate sounds can be made, after that the baby will be ready for more complex tasks.

    Please let a child be a child.. philosophy and science is something to introduce at the age when a child thinks to have discovered the world, then be amazed by the whole other imaginetive world out there.

    The first time I was introduced to science was in high-school, at age.. maybe 13. But that was just basic Newton things. The first I REALLY realized what science was, was after reading Hawking's book five years later. Yeah, five years earlier would've been nice.
  5. Nov 15, 2003 #4


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    Language experts have pointed out that baby talk in different languages is different, it always is expressed in the phonemes of the parents' native tongue. So it "teaches" the infant the phoneme set it will later use. To be honest though, this theory is contradicted by the fact that older babies, just before forming their first words, will babble in a phoneme set much broader than their soon to be native tongue.
  6. Nov 17, 2003 #5


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    A 'heard start'? Punny. :wink:

    I seem to recall reading somewhere that using bigger/more complex words helps to improve a baby's hard-wired language skills...or maybe that was for toddlers/kids. Anyway, my offhand guess is that for every study which concludes that using big words is better, there is another that concludes baby talk is just fine. Personally, I prefer to use both. Big words for language/brain development and baby talk for connecting to a baby...a social component which is also important for healthy brain development.

    p.s. Nothing wrong with introducing (but not overwhelming) basic philosophical & scientific ideas to very young kids. But I think it may be better to work on critical thinking skills, identifying patterns/connections, etc. (i.e., a good foundation for scientific/philo pursuits later in life)
  7. Nov 17, 2003 #6
    I'd hate to start a whole "Nature/Nurture" debate, but I think it depends on the baby. My mother used to have tapes - and still talks about it (though the tapes have been destroyed, in a fire), since she loves to brag about her kids - wherein I was speaking Spanish sentences, at 9 months of age. She, apparently, didn't waste any time with "baby talk", and (I guess) neither did I. She also informs me that I spoke both Spanish and English, in coherent sentences, by the time I was 1 1/2...she says that she and my cousin used to play a game with me, wherein they would ask me something in Spanish, and expect an answer in English, or vice versa.

    I don't remember any of this, obviously (my furthest memory is from when I was 3, learning to read), but, if it's all true, I'd say that the usefulness of "baby talk" in lingual developement depends on the baby.
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