Baby Talk

How early can babies tell "Baby Talk" from real language? French researchers with a unique look at babies' brains found that our way with words comes a lot earlier than you might expect.

Neurologist Stanislas Dehaene of France's National Institute for Health and Medical Research, found that the brains of babies as young as two months old react very differently to real speech, including gibberish.

Dehaene and his colleagues recorded brain activity of a group of babies while they heard sentences from a popular children's book, played forward and backward.

Areas of the brain that adults use for speech were much more active in the babies' brains during forward speech than backward speech.

That means the baby already knows something about the structure of a normal language, and it knows the backward speech cannot be normal.

The scientists were also surprised to find out another part of the brain, which deals with attention and effort believed until now to be silent in the first months of life, is in fact already active.

Does this mean that human brains are hard-wired for language from the get-go? We still don't know for sure.

But we do know that parents should feel free to talk to their young ones in sentences, instead of just "Baby Talk."

The team, whose results were published in the Journal Science, is looking into doing similar studies to see how soon babies process other information, like numbers.

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