Research Demonstrates Benefits of Word Repetition to Infants

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[Source:  Medical X Press]repitition

New research from the University of Maryland and Harvard University suggests that young infants benefit from hearing words repeated by their parents. With this knowledge, parents may make conscious communication choices that could pay off in their babies’ toddler years and beyond.

“Parents who repeat words more often to their infants have children with better language skills a year and a half later,” said co-author Rochelle Newman, professor and chair of UMD’s Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences (HESP). “A lot of recent focus has been on simply talking more to your child—but how you talk to your child matters. It isn’t just about the number of words.”

Newman and co-authors HESP Professor Nan Bernstein Ratner and Harvard Associate Professor of Education Meredith L. Rowe tracked maternal-child directed speech to prelinguistic (7-month-old) infants. They specifically measured the infants’ ability to understand language at 7 months, and later the children’s vocabulary outcomes at age 2. They found that the toddlers who had stronger language outcomes differed in two ways from their peers: their parents had repeated words more often, and they were more tuned in to the language as infants, and thus better able to process what was being said.

 

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