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Penn psychologists find 6- to 9-month-olds understand the meaning of many spoken words

Here’s some curious research news that gives us insights into all those hours we moms sit, watch and talk with our babies while they babble and interact with their environment. The gist: an infant is learning the words for objects much earlier than he speaks them — he knows what a spoon is well before he can say “spoon.” By implication, he’s comprehending and connecting the dots between other not so nice things and words too. As many moms have long suspected babies know a lot more than we give them credit for…understanding precedes speech. Here’s some highlights of the study, scroll down to link and read the rest.

“The study’s novel results contribute to an ongoing debate about infant language acquisition and cognitive development.

“I think it’s surprising in the sense that the kids at this age aren’t saying anything, they’re not pointing, they’re not walking,” Bergelson said. “But actually, under the surface, they’re trying to put together the things in the world with the words that go with them.”

“I think this study presents a great message to parents: You can talk to your babies and they’re going to understand a bit of what you’re saying,” Swingley said. “They’re not going to give us back witty repartee, but they understand some of it. And the more they know, the more they can build on what they know.”

Penn psychologists find 6- to 9-month-olds understand the meaning of many spoken words.

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