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Study: ‘Baby Talk’ Benefits Youngsters’ Vocabulary

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — If you’re ever around babies, you have probably heard adults adopt that sing-songy voice and begin using “baby talk.”

As CBS 2’s Cindy Hsu reported, one new study has indicated that baby talk may be beneficial.
Vanessa Rosarios uses baby talk with her daughter, Jade, all the time.

“What happened baby Jade?” she said to her 3-month-old. “You sleepy?”

But Bill Beuhl-Reichard, who has his son on his back and a daughter in front, said he is “not into” baby talk.

“We try to talk more like adults,” he said. “I think they seem to learn a little more.”

Arvind Bobra said baby talk is fun, but admits he is a little embarrassed about it.

But a study by researchers at the University of Washington and the University of Connecticut said there is no need to be embarrassed. The study found baby talk is actually better at increasing a child’s vocabulary than regular grown-up speech.

The study said 2-year olds in families who spoke the most baby talk recognized about 433 words — compared with 169 words recognized by 2-year olds exposed to the least baby talk.

Speech-language therapist Rachel Cortese said children are often more interested when parents use baby talk. They like the slower pace and the sing-songy words.

But she said it is best to go with full sentences.

“If we’re going to the store, we might say something like, ‘Want to go to the store?’ instead of ‘go store?’” said Cortese, of the Child Mind Institute.

Cortese said even more important is the back-and-forth interaction when your child tries to communicate.

“If your baby is shaking the rattle, you can go and shake the rattle too, and you can add language to that so, ‘Shake, shake, shake,’” she said.

The parents of a baby named Evangelina like to mix it up. They go with baby talk and regular talk in both English and Spanish.

And it seems to be working.

“She said her first word yesterday,” said Evan Sloan. “‘Ombligo’ – belly button.”

Experts said it is also never too early to start reading to your baby — even when their inside the womb. They said it sets the stage for the interaction really early on.

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