Description: Who do you think would learn a new language faster a baby, a preschooler, or a teenager? Have A Listen to this Ted talk on infant language development (oh that’s a bit of a giveaway!) and find out.
Source: The Science of Baby Talk, by Gary Stix for Scientific American, and a Ted talk video by Patricia Kuhl
Date: October 20, 2015
Links: Article Link — http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/babies-the-science-of-baby-talk-video/l#
If you started trying to learn a new language in junior high or high school you probably recall that it was not a particularly straightforward enterprise. The other hand you have no memory whatsoever of learning your first language or first languages in that process began happening when you were a baby. This Ted talk by Patricia Kuhl explores some of the amazing things infants seem to arrive in the world ready to do in relation to language. The inescapable conclusion is that humans are prepared to learn a spoken language just as they are prepared to learn to crawl to walk. It’s an important part of our basic adaptation to our environment, it is a truly amazing thing to watch.
Questions for Discussion:
- What are some of the ways that “learning” a language in infancy might be different than say learning to play the guitar at 12 years of age?
- What is it mean to say that infants “take statistics” on the languages being spoken around them and to them in their first year of life?
- Are there differences in language learning in infants when the language they are hearing is presented in person or on television or in an audio format only?
References (Read Further):
Casasola, Marianella Research sheds light on how babies learn and develop language: Insights for parents, teachers, and educators from research. http://www.human.cornell.edu/hd/outreach-extension/upload/casasola.pdf
Tips on learning to talk, Zero to Three, Early Experiences Matter http://www.zerotothree.org/child-development/early-language-literacy/helping-learn-to-talk.html accessed November 8, 2015.