The babbling of babies learning how to speak might seem nonsensical, but are far more advanced than we think.
Fifty French children of 23 and 37 months were engaged in a study where their chattering was recorded by highly sensitive equipment. These precise sounds were analysed and revealed that certain sounds, like a, an, can and is were used as words which formed a definite pattern consistent with grammatical words.
According to a lecturer in child language development, Christine Dye, children’s grammatical competence is far more evolved than we ever understood. “The fact that this sound was always produced in the correct place in the sentence leads us to believe that young children are knowledgeable of grammatical words,” she said. The study is believed to be universal, yet still has to be proved.
Dye goes on to say that understanding language delay in children could have certain benefits: “When children don’t learn to speak normally, it can lead to serious issues later in life. For example, those who have it are more likely to suffer from mental illness or be unemployed later in life. If we can understand what is ‘normal’ as early as possible then we can intervene sooner and help those children.”