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HOW TO LEARN BABY FOR TALKING?

HOW TO LEARN BABY FOR TALKING?
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The ability to communicate with one another is essential to our existence as human beings. From the time we are born, and even before birth, the foundation is being laid for the development of language. Parents and caregivers have an incredibly important, and enjoyable, part to play in that development.

When Adults Talk to Babies

Caregiving adults, especially mothers, seem to instinctively know the kind of talking that babies respond to best. We have all heard the special talk that is reserved just for infantsówe hardly seem to be able to help ourselves from using it when we see a newborn! What language experts once called "motherese" is now known as infant-directed speech. Infant-directed speech is different from speech we use with others in several ways: we use a higher pitch; we exaggerate the range of pitches; we use shorter phrases and longer pauses between phrases; and we use clearer pronunciation.

Although infant-directed speech isn't used in every culture, it is present in many, many languages around the world. The drive to communicate is such a strong part of our make-up that babies will develop spoken language even without the support of infant-directed speech. But scientists have discovered that babies pick up an amazing amount of knowledge about language and communication just from hearing "baby talk."

Studies of infants and their mothers have shown that babies from birth prefer to hear infant-directed speech (IDS). IDS draws infants' attention better and holds it longer than regular speech. This increased attention helps to immediately create a warm and enjoyable interaction between parent and baby that helps babies make the connection between spoken words and emotion. A baby can begin to process social information visually as she fixes her eyes on her parent's face.

Infants also learn a great deal about words themselves from IDS, long before they understand word meanings or begin to use words to communicate. For example, newborn infants can recognize the natural rhythm of speech from having heard it within the womb. Newborns can discriminate differences in most speech sounds and, over the next ten months, focus attention on sounds specific to their home language. Within the first year, babies can recognize combinations of sounds, then words and language rhythms, that are unique to their home language.

Studies of parents and babies from many cultures have shown that we constantly adjust our speech as babies grow. For example, parents' talk to newborns is filled with greetings and endearments and has a strong emotional content. On the other hand, talk to one-year-olds is much more information-ladenófilled with labels, directions, descriptions, and questions. Researchers have also found that parents who were better at making their own speech more complex as their babies matured over the first year had babies that, at 18 months, had a better understanding of word meanings.

When Babies Talk Back

Eye Contact and Gestures

Long before they begin to use words, babies join in "conversations" with their caregivers. Even newborns use eye contact to let us know when they want to interact. By four months, they can follow the direction that we are looking. We also tend to look where the baby is looking, often commenting on what we think she is looking at. Researchers have shown that this kind of joint attention is especially helpful to babies' later language development, leading to earlier and more use of words. Babies also learn to communicate by using gestures. By the end of his first year, a baby can gain our attention and make his wishes known by touching an object, holding it up, or pointing to it as he makes eye contact with us.

Cooing and Babbling

As early as two months, infants begin producing cooing sounds. By four months, they begin playing with sounds that are easy to make, repeating strings of vowel and consonant combinations, like "bababa." Early babbling is found in babies everywhere, even those who are deaf. But for babbling to continue to develop into words, babies need to hear spoken language from others. By seven months, babbling begins to include the sound combinations distinct to their native language and, by a year old, babies' babbling includes a broad range of sound combinations and may include their first words.

Conversational Turn-taking

As early as three months old, infants begin to learn the conversational skill of turn-taking. In the beginning, we adults take the primary responsibility in turn-taking. When we talk to an infant, we pause and then respond as though she answered back. We also model turn-taking when we play games like pat-a-cake and peek-a-boo with babies. Over the next several months, babies gradually become more and more active participants in back-and-forth play and conversation.

By the beginning of the second year, babies use combinations of gestures, turn-taking, and word-like sounds to communicate. A close listen to an older baby's babbling will reveal someone hard at work experimenting with language sounds and matching those sounds to the right objects and the right circumstances.

Building a Strong Foundation for Language Development

Time and time again, research has shown that early exposure to language leads to greater language skills as children get olderóand the more, the better. At home and at child care, studies indicate that the more we talk to babies, the better they will understand and use language later. Talk that is especially effective in boosting language is talk that involves describing actions, asking questions, and using a rich vocabulary. When we talk to babies while we are dressing and feeding them as well as playing with them, we are providing exactly what they need to learn to effectively use language to communicate.

Babies who hear more spoken language tend to use more words sooner. In turn, those children who have larger vocabularies at age three have larger vocabularies and comprehend language better when they enter school. And there is no doubt that having a good grasp on language in the early school years will benefit children throughout their school years.

What we don't need to do is to teach specific speech concepts and skills to very young children. Infants and toddlers are very well equipped to make sense of verbal language and learn the specifics, as long as we give them plenty of "raw material" to work with. And parents and caregivers seem to know instinctively how to talk to babies. However, parents and caregivers differ widely in the amount that they talk to babies. As one expert source put it, "To the extent that problems arise, it is generally not that parents are doing the wrong things but that they're not doing enough of the right things."

Watching young children begin to communicate and learn to master spoken language is a fascinating venture that will make anyone appreciate the abilities of even the youngest infant. Parents and other important caregivers have the delightful responsibility of supporting babies' language development by using rich language as they care for, play with, and enjoy the babies in their lives. (by Kathy L. Reschke, Ph.D - BABY.TopResource.NET Reference)

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