Your baby’s babbling may shape the way you speak. New research from Cornell University’s Behavioral Analysis of Beginning Years Laboratory may have found a connection between infant speech, adult speech and learning.

The study, which was published in the Journal of Child Language, looked at the function of infant babbling in the language learning process. After analyzing data from 30 mama-baby pairs, the researchers found that the infants of mothers who used simplified speech (shortened or one-word sentences and lower numbers of unique words in response to baby’s babbling) were faster language learners.

photo: Kate Emslie via Unsplash

According to Steven Elmlinger, lead author of the study, “Infants are actually shaping their own learning environments in ways that make learning easier to do.”

Elmlinger added, “We know that parents’ speech influences how infants learn––that makes sense––and that infants’ own motivations also change how they learn. But what hasn’t been studied is the link between how infants can change the parents, or just change the learning environment as a whole. That’s what we’re trying to do.”

—Erica Loop

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