Research NewsSPEECH DEVELOPMENT

New Insights Into How Babies Learn Language

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Science  01 Aug 1997:
Vol. 277, Issue 5326, pp. 641
DOI: 10.1126/science.277.5326.641

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Summary

Two papers, one appearing on page 684 of this issue and another in the 24 July issue of Nature, are clarifying how babies learn language. It appears that "parentese," the singsong type of exaggerated speech parents tend to use when speaking to their babies, helps them learn the key features of vowel sounds, although they don't always use the distinctions they learn right away. Instead, they save them until they are needed.