Baby Talk: Decoding The Secret Language Of Babies [npr.org]

 

Bababababa, dadadadada, ahgagaga. Got that?

Babies are speaking to us all the time, but most of us have no clue what they're saying. To us non-babies, it all sounds like charming, mysterious, gobbleydegook. To researchers, though, babbling is knowable, predictable, and best of all, teachable. This week, we'll find out how to decipher the vocabulary, and the behavior, of the newest members of the human family.

First, we explore the wordless conversation of synchronous movement, and the bonding that happens when a parent and child sway in harmony. In her 2014 study on toddlers, Laura Cirellidiscovered that 14-month-olds who felt they were bouncing in sync with a dance partner were more likely to help that partner pick up an object that was out of reach. Music and rhythm creates connectionbecause, as Cirelli says, synchronous movement is its own kind of language—a language of affection. "When we are moving with other people [and] singing familiar songs, these are cueing us, babies and adults, to think about the relationships we have with these people."

[For more on this story by SHANKAR VEDANTAM, go to https://www.npr.org/2018/05/14...t-language-of-babies]

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