How Do Babies Learn Language? By Sophie Mihell-Hale
We use language in every aspect of our lives and, even when we are not speaking, it permeates each thought, feeling and understanding we have of the world around us. The idea of not knowing or understanding a #language is therefore mind boggling although, strangely enough, every single one of us was once in this very position as newborn infants.
As babies, we are thrust into the world pretty much a blank slate, with no way to fend for ourselves and no way to communicate other than crying. How, then, does an infant learn to understand and speak a language?
According to Dr Roberta Michnick Golinkoff, infant language researcher, learning begins in the womb, and “a baby is eavesdropping on each conversation her mother has once hearing is in place at seven months”. Once born, it seems we have an innate sense for language, with #linguistic skills developing at a rapid pace; tests have shown that at just hours old babies can differentiate between not just different people but different languages too.
With this basic #phonetic understanding in place from day one, it is easier to see how this recognition can develop into the fully fledged method of language by which we all communicate. By a few months old, a baby will start to recognise their own name, then a few common words. By the time a child is three years old their budding linguistic skills will have blossomed into an established system of speaking to really help them navigate the world.