Washington [US], July 1
According to research, babies are much more likely to engage in “baby talk” while interacting with artificial things than when interacting with natural ones.
Infants often communicate with photo phones, which are sounds resembling squeals, growls, or short word-like noises such as “da”, “aga” and “ba”.
These are considered the foundations of speech, as they eventually evolve into full language. Objects play an important role in this process, as the more vocalization an object encourages, the closer a young child is to talking.
A new study, led by the University of Portsmouth, has looked at the relationship between photo phones and things typically found at home to assess their importance for developing language skills.
To do this, the team observed how often children aged 4 to 18 months who live in Zambia vocalized when using toys and household items, and then compared it to how they interacted with natural objects.
They discovered the number of protophones produced by the younger infants was significantly higher when engaging with man-made objects, compared to sticks, leaves, rocks, and bird feathers.
They also found the children were more interested in household items – such as mugs, shoes, and pens – when given the choice between them and natural objects.