Wednesday, August 27, 2008

yum yum yum

Why do babies respond so well to baby talk? Why do they seem to say the same sorts of things in baby talk themselves? Here's a very short article about a study that concludes that babies' brains are hard-wired to prefer repeated syllables like "mama" and "dada." (Thus explaining why Griffin can babble "mamamamama" but not yet say "Kindly remove that foul, pasty rice cereal from my mouth, Mother, and replace it with puréed butternut squash, stat!")


  1. Yes, I know that the fact that babies speak baby talk isn't that earth-shattering--but this news allows me to share more gratuitous Griffin pictures with you, my loyal readers!

  2. Love the pics . . . keep em coming!

    I have an award waiting for you on Foreign Language Fun :-)

  3. Hehehe...maybe that's why the majority of my daughter's nouns are in Chinese! (Chinese baby-talk has even MORE doubled syllables than English does.)

    Just found your blog today. I'm raising one (soon to be two!) children bi-lingual, in a Eurasian home. Daddy was born in China, I was born in America. We are both fluent in both languages.

  4. Hi Sarah,

    look who's back in the land of the living (Sophie's mom, in case that helps :) )!

    Congrats on the birth of Griffin - and I love the name! It was on my fave list, but my husband was being difficult, so we ended up with an Owen :)

    Sophie used to say "mamamamamamamam" all the time, too, but Owie has been quite different. He hasn't been into repeating syllables too much - but he started saying "Mama" when he was only 2 months old and hasn't stopped saying it since (and it wasn't just my wishful thinking back then, someone else heard him say it, too).

    Now he's 14 months old already and is beginning to say a few words, in both German and English. It's exciting, and I do hope he'll do more than just understand German - his big sister Sophers still thinks she isn't able to speak it, but continues to understand everything :)

    I'll start updating my own blog soon, too, with all the details on what's been happening with everything in my life.

    Good luck with Griffin's French!

  5. Hey, just wanted to let you know that the link is broken, and I was wondering if you knew where else the article might be found.

    Also wanted to comment that this is the reason that so many languages have similar parental vocabulary. Vowel+consonant syllables beginning with m and b are among the easiest for babies to say--perhaps the reason bottles and blankets and such end up with names like baba and bobo? :)

  6. Oh, I wanted to add one more thing--when I started to blog and added your blog to my blogroll, I was just looking for people using communicative ways to teach language, but eight days after I started my blog, lo and behold I'm pregnant! So I'm sure I'll be paying a lot more attention to this in the days to come as we intend to do one-parent, one-language with our baby. (I'm fluent in Spanish, my husband doesn't speak it.)