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Babies begin learning grammar from birth

Babies start to understand how words go together before they know what they mean, finds new study

Posted: 12 December 2011
by Kimberley Smith
talking to baby
Babies are picking up the grammar in your speach from the word go

Babies start to learn grammar right from the moment they’re born, finds new research. A study has discovered that babies learn grammar from word patterns listened to in the first year of life.

“Babies are constantly looking for language clues in context and sound,” said Professor Jill Lany, from the University of Notre Dame. She explained that this grammar knowledge then forms the basis of word learning at around 17 months.

“They can distinguish different kinds of words like nouns and verbs by information in that sound stream,” Professor Jill explained. “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 as clues to the meanings of new words they are learning,” Professor Jill said.

“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.”

So make sure you’re talking with good grammar when you’re in the nursery!


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The link 'Brainy babies recognise your speach in the womb' has a spelling error. I won't tell you which word though, I figure it's pretty obvious

Posted: 17/04/2013 at 13:54

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