Parents’ ‘um’s’ and ‘uh’s’ help kids learn new wordsApril 15th, 2011 - 12:42 pm ICT by ANI
Washington, April 15 (ANI): A study conducted at the University of Rochester’s Baby Lab has good news for parents who are worried that they are setting a bad example for their children when they say “um” and “uh.”
A team of cognitive scientists found that toddlers actually use their parents’ stumbles and hesitations (technically referred to as disfluencies) to help them learn language more efficiently.
For instance, say you’re walking through the zoo with your two-year-old and you are trying to teach him animal names. You point to the rhinoceros and say, “Look at the, uh, uh, rhinoceros.” It turns out that as you are fumbling for the correct word, you are also sending your child a signal that you are about to teach him something new, so he should pay attention, according to the researchers.
Young kids have a lot of information to process while they listen to an adult speak, including many words that they have never heard before. If a child’s brain waits until a new word is spoken and then tries to figure out what it means after the fact, it becomes a much more difficult task and the child is apt to miss what comes next, said Richard Aslin, a professor of brain and cognitive sciences at the University of Rochester and one of the study’s authors.
“The more predictions a listener can make about what is being communicated, the more efficiently the listener can understand it,” said Aslin.
“We’re not advocating that parents add disfluencies to their speech, but I think it’s nice for them to know that using these verbal pauses is OK - the “uh’s” and “um’s” are informative,” added Kidd, the study’s lead author.
The study is detailed in the journal Developmental Science. (ANI)
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Tags: adult, animal names, baby lab, brain, cognitive sciences, cognitive scientists, correct word, developmental science, listener, parents, rhinoceros, richard aslin, toddlers, uh, university of rochester, young kids, zoo