The more bizarre your baby's babble is, the better reader they will be

Daily Mail - Science & tech

The more gibberish your baby utters, the better reader he and she might grow up to be, a new study shows. Scientists from Florida State University think the link they discovered could help doctors screen for reading disabilities as early as infancy. The researchers found that those children with more complex babble as babies performed better when identifying specific letters in their later reading test. They said children with difficulties in identifying letters are more likely to develop reading impairments, but such difficulties can't be uncovered until the child is three to five-years-old. The researchers investigated whether assessing language ability even earlier, by measuring speech complexity in infancy, might predict later difficulties.


Vowel sounds made by baboons show that the roots of human speech may go back 25 million years

Los Angeles Times

Listen closely to those baboon calls -- they may tell you a thing or two about human speech. Scientists who studied baboons' wahoos, yaks, barks and other vocalizations have found evidence of five vowel-like sounds – a sign that the physical capacity for speech may have evolved over much longer timescales than previously thought. The findings, described in the journal PLOS One, could have significant implications for our understanding of human speech's development and the emergence of language. Scientists studying the evolution of speech are left in a tricky bind because, unlike bones or shells, spoken words leave no fossil imprints in the geological record. How do you study the development of something as insubstantial as a sound?


Bilingual babies can distinguish between two languages

Daily Mail

Bilingual babies can accurately process two languages from just 20 months of age, according to a new study. Researchers found infants growing up with two languages have the learning ability to make sense of both of them from just listening. The moment they hear the switch their pupils dilate, researchers found - proving that it does not just blend into gobbledegook. This builds on previous research which found babies who are exposed to two languages have better brain power before they've even uttered a word and end up smarter for life. Researchers found babies infants growing up bilingual have the learning ability to make sense of two languages from just listening.


Baby talk evolved to make parents seem less intimidating

Daily Mail

If you're guilty of talking to your baby in a silly voice, you should blame your caveman ancestors, new research suggests. Researchers have found that'baby talk' - speaking to your child in a high pitched voice while using simplistic language - could be a hang-up of early human evolution. Our ancestors may have originally spoken in a childish voice to appear less intimidating to their babies. And because this peculiar habit made it easier for babies to learn their first language, it soon became ingrained in our DNA, scientists have suggested. Researchers have found that'baby talk' - speaking to your child in a high pitched voice while using simplistic language - could be a hang-up of early human evolution (stock image) The researchers studied the movements that mothers make with their lips and tongue while talking to their babies to decipher the origins of baby talk.


Boost your baby's brain with music: Playing tunes to infants makes their minds sharper and improves their speech

Daily Mail - Science & tech

Bouncing your baby on your knee as you listen to music won't just make him giggle, it could also give his brain a boost. A study found that brain regions key to music and speech were sharper in nine-month-old boys and girls who had attended musical play sessions. This could make it easier for them to learn to speak and, eventually, even to learn foreign languages. Researchers have found exposing infants to music early on could potentially give them a mental boost. In a small study of 39 babies, scientists found brain regions key to music and speech were sharper in nine-month-old boys and girls who had attended musical play sessions.