The birth of a word – a toddler speaks


baby babble talk matters

Words. We take them for granted as adults. But is it just me, or do you just flip out when your kid says a new word, or better yet a phrase? Sometimes I don’t share my amazement, but It turns out that the excitement we feel is rightfully so.

I recently read a LiveScience article (referenced below) and it reminded me of a Ted Talk I saw a few years ago.

The Ted talk was by Deb Roy, and is titled, “The Birth of a Word”. In short it is a video diary done by a scientist that recorded every audio/video second of his child’s life at home, room by room, from the first day she was brought home. They then honed in on one word, and reverse engineered how that word was learned by their child.

It is an amazing video, the link is at the bottom of this post. I don’t want to give too much away, but watch it!

We are really just beginning to understand how children learn and put together words. Three days ago, the study featured in LiveScience highlighted that babies, even months old, use pauses that represent proper uses of “a, an, the” etc. in proper grammatical uses as puffs of air. So subtle, but there nonetheless.

Mind blowing photo credit: Ben Lucier

That blows my mind ->

My 2nd oldest son for the first time grabbed my phone and had a conversation with my parents. Full of inflections, pauses, real words, babble, and more. I used to think it was dorky of me to find this “awesome” but after reading and watching both these studies, I see that I have true reason to be amazed at the birth of a word.

Link to Live Science article below the Ted Talk

Ted Talk by Deb Roy – The Birth of a Word

Live Science article on grammar usage in toddler babble:

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