Does Baby Talk Help Babies Learn English?

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In summary: In general, though, I think it's a good idea to expose your child to as many languages as possible, from an early age.
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I was sitting on a bus yesterday, when I overheard a parent doing the whole "baby talk" thing with his child. It occurred 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 occurred to me of a scientist parent reading journals to his/her child as a bed time story..
 
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  • #2
Originally posted by Jikx

Hehe.. the thought just occurred to me of a scientist parent reading journals to his/her child as a bed time story..
I strongly believe 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.
 
  • #3
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.
 
  • #4
Langauge 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.
 
  • #5
Originally posted by Jikx
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?

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)
 
  • #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 development depends on the baby.
 

What is baby talk?

Baby talk, also known as infant-directed speech or motherese, is a type of speech that adults use when communicating with infants and young children. It typically involves using a higher pitch, simplified vocabulary, and exaggerated intonation.

Does baby talk really help babies learn English?

There is conflicting evidence on the effectiveness of baby talk in helping babies learn English. Some studies suggest that it can help infants learn the sounds and patterns of their native language, while others argue that it may actually hinder language development by not providing proper grammar and vocabulary.

At what age should parents stop using baby talk?

Experts generally recommend that parents start to gradually decrease their use of baby talk around 12-18 months of age. This allows children to hear and learn more complex language structures, which will be important for their future language development.

Can using baby talk negatively affect a child's language skills?

There is no clear consensus on the long-term effects of baby talk on a child's language skills. Some studies suggest that it may lead to delays in language development, while others argue that it has no significant impact. It is important for parents to provide a balance of baby talk and proper language models to support their child's language development.

What are some alternatives to baby talk for helping babies learn English?

Some alternatives to baby talk include using simplified language and clear pronunciation, engaging in interactive activities and playtime, and reading to your child using proper grammar and vocabulary. It is also important to provide a language-rich environment that exposes children to a variety of words and sentence structures.

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