Language Development

Baby Talk: The Roots of the Early Vocabulary in Infants’ Learning From Speech

Although babies typically start talking around 12 months of age, their brains actually begin processing certain aspects of language much earlier, so that by the time they start talking, babies actually already know hundreds of words. While studying language acquisition in infants can be a challenging endeavor, researchers have begun More

What Does it Mean to be Alive? How Notions of the Natural World Unfold- in Development and Across Languages.

Understanding the concept of a “living thing” is a late developmental achievement. Early research by Jean Piaget, showed that kids attribute “life status” to things that move on their own (e.g. clouds or bikes) and even 10-year-olds have difficulty understanding the scope of a living thing. New research, supported by More

Running Words Together: The science behind cross-cultural linguistics

While communication may be recognized as a universal phenomenon, distinctions—ranging from word-order to naming—undoubtedly remain as they help to define culture and develop language. Yet, little is understood about the similarities and differences in languages around the world. Recently, however, two studies have emerged that aid in our understanding of More

Baby Talk is Universal

A major function of speech is the communication of intentions. In everyday conversation between adults, intentions are conveyed through multiple channels, including the syntax and semantics of the language, but also through nonverbal vocal cues such as pitch, loudness, and rate of speech. The same thing occurs when we talk More

Internationally adopted children shed light on how babies learn language

Each year, about 40,000 children are adopted across national lines, primarily by families from North America and Western Europe. These joyful occasions mark the growth of new families and also provide the framework for a natural experiment in language development.  Although most are infants and toddlers, thousands of older children More