Real Words vs. Baby Talk: Which is Better?

Baby Talk
Baby Talk

Parents of infants and toddlers may not realize it, but they often talk to their children in “baby talk.” “Coochie-coochie-coo” is one classic example.

These senseless sounds may sound very cute, but experts believe that you should speak actual words when speaking to your baby.

One of the biggest mistakes parents ever commit is underestimating the learning capacity of their children.

Babies’ blank stares and seemingly random smiles may belie their ability to process language, and the things we say to them could have some very important bearing later on in their lives.

Recent research shows that speaking real words to your baby is beneficial to the development of his or her communication skills.

In a study published by Northwestern University in Illinois, the effects of using real words were proven to be remarkable. The research involved children between the ages of 2 and 4 months who were shown a series of pictures of fishes.

Half of them were told words when the pictures were shown while the other only half heard beeps.

The interesting discovery was that children who heard real words were able to form categories in their minds. More specifically, the infants who were told words were able to identify the fish based on what they heard.

On the contrary those who heard only beeps were not able to make the identification.

The researchers hypothesized that babies become more aware of their surroundings when exposed to actual human words. This increased awareness helps them become more familiar with objects which they then are able to categorize.

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Remember that even if a child may encounter a great number of words every day, the parents’ effort to talk to them while identifying objects could actually do wonders for their communication skills.

You can help your child develop his or her language skills by using simple words and short sentences. This helps because young children can only process limited information.

Speak in a happy sounding voice using bold facial expressions and gestures so that your baby will be enthused to listen to your more closely.

Try not to feel silly when doing these things because this period is actually the perfect time to help your baby learn how to speak.

Try talking about what you are doing. If you are feeding him or her, try describing the food, (i.e. it’s delicious, yummy). Use nouns to describe things.

For instance, say “this is your diaper!” rather than “here it is!” Make sure to always call the baby by her name because she is too young to understand the concept of pronouns like “me” and “you.” In addition, you can even use picture books and family photos to fascinate your child.

So the next time you speak to your baby, forget the usual gibberish. Keep using the real words instead of baby talk and eventually, your child will begin saying them too.


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