Shunning earlier theories that the more words babies hear the faster their vocabulary grows, a new research shows that what spurs early language development is the quality, not quantity.
"What our analysis shows is that the prevalence of baby talk in one-on-one conversations with children is linked to better language development, both concurrent and future," said Patricia Kuhl, co-author and co-director of University of Washington's Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences.
Researchers examined several 30-second snippets of verbal exchanges between parents and babies.
The criteria was to measure parents' use of a regular speaking voice versus an animated baby talk style, and whether speech occurred one-on-one between parent and child or in a group, said the study published in the journal Developmental Science.
The more parents exaggerated vowels - for example "How are youuuuu?" - and raised the pitch of their voices, the more the one-year olds babbled, added the study.
Baby talk was most effective when a parent spoke with a child individually, without other adults or children around, it said.
"The fact that the infant's babbling itself plays a role in future language development shows how important the interchange between parent and child is," Kuhl said.
"Some parents produce baby talk naturally and they don't realise that they are actually benefiting their toddlers," said first author Nairan Ramirez-Esparza, an assistant psychology professor at University of Connecticut.
--IANS (Posted on 07-01-2014)