Babies love to communicate and they're great listeners, even early on.
New research shows that during the first year of life, when babies spend so much time listening to language, they're actually tracking word patterns that will support their process of word- learning that occurs between the ages of about 18 months and two years.
"Babies are constantly looking for language clues in context and sound," says Jill Lany, assistant professor of psychology and director of University of Notre Dame's baby lab, where she conducts studies on how babies acquire language. "My research suggests that there are some surprising clues in the sound stream that may help babies learn the meanings of words. They can distinguish different kinds of words like nouns and verbs by information in that sound stream."
Lany's studies show that babies as young as twelve months can identify 'adjacent relationships' in which a phrase or sound like "it's a" occurs immediately before an object. "If I were to say to you, 'Oh look, it's a dax,' you might not know what a 'dax' is but the cue 'it's a' let's a baby know that what follows is an object."
Similarly, if a person were to say "I'm daxing it," the same principal is at work with cues and word patterns that indicate a verb or action word. Babies actually can use these patterns as clues to the meanings of new words they are learning. By about 15 months, babies are able to track more complicated "non-adjacent relationships" in which the word cue may be even further removed.
"We often think about grammar coming after word-learning, but in fact, my research shows that all this information that babies are picking up in that first year of life about how words are occurring in their language, actually is supporting this process of word-learning prior to mastery of language."
- PHYSICAL SCIENCES
- EARTH SCIENCES
- LIFE SCIENCES
- SOCIAL SCIENCES
Subscribe to the newsletter
Stay in touch with the scientific world!
Know Science And Want To Write?
- Suggestion: The EM Drive Is Getting The Appropriate Level Of Attention From The Science Community
- Animal Sex Is Spicier Than We Thought
- Your Fear Of Radiation Is Irrational
- No One Talks About How Flowers Are Killing Bees
- Will Aspartame Critics Now Be Less Bitter?
- GMOs Have Formaldehyde? Bizarre Claim Challenged By Experts
- Junk Science Report Card
- "The formaldehyde thing is a joke. I inject a solution of 2% formaldehyde (weight by volume) into..."
- "Great job on this review article on aspartame and other sweeteners. As mentioned, aspartame is..."
- "Your headline is unscientific and your talking points are old, I feel like I've read this piece..."
- "I guess it's time to plan some farewell glacier tour hikes. The ones in Glacier National Park and..."
- "So how much poison did you ingest sitting at your PC copying and pasting all of that stuff? You..."
- Excessive or inadequate? Confusion about medication is common
- Breast cancer in young women is rarer than media make it seem
- GE crops could save the planet, if Organic advocates let them
- No excuses to be against science now: Monsanto patent expires
- The Pendulum Swings: Prescribing Hormone Replacement Therapy 13 Years After the Women’s Health Initiative Study
- The search for new blood donors ends at the living – but why?