The birth of words

Filed under: Babies, Toddlers Preschoolers, Development/Milestones: Babies

My 23-month old baby constantly surprises us with words he picks up. It is amazing to listen to his emerging vocabulary. This brings me to a study I recently saw in Child Development. A core task in language acquisition is attching or mapping words onto objects, actions, and events. Two studies investigated how children learn to map novel labels into novel objects. Study 1 investigated whether 10-month-olds use both perceptual and social cues to learn a word. Study 2, a control study, tested whether infants paired the label with a particular spatial location rather than to an object. The results showed that 10-month-olds can learn new labels, and that they do so by relying on the perceptual salience of an object instead of social cues provided by a speaker. This is apparently in direct contrast in which older children (12, 12, and 24 months) learn and extend new object names.

Right now, my son has attached names to many of his tosy, particularly a large plastic truck he scoots around in the house. None of us provided any social cues for this response. As he likes to play with this particular toy, he seems to have attached his word according to the object itself. I now have an explanation for why he did this. Have you noticed similar behavior in your kids?

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.