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Monday Afternoon Diversion: Babble

By Kevin Robinson in Arts & Entertainment on Apr 16, 2012 8:00PM

Babble is a stage in human childhood development during language acquisition where the infant experiments with making sounds that are part of the language that surrounds her, but aren't actually recognizable words. Up to about four months, babies coo, making only the most basic vowel sounds, before moving on to actual babbling. Infants outgrow the stage where they are cooing. they begin to show reduplicated babbling, the production of repeated consonants, followed by variegated babbling, which is made up of a mix of syllables. By about one year of age, most babies are able to use sound in a meaningful way, to communicate simple words, imitate basic sounds, and express simple emotions, such as "wow" and "uh-oh." In fact, the state of babble has been theorized as being comparable to someone fiddling with the controls of a stereo system - trying to understand what everything does and how to get those controls to make the best sound possible.

Most remarkable about language acquisition and development of tools to communicate in children is that babies that are deaf, or that are raised by non-hearing caregivers show vocal babble, but more importantly, if they are exposed to sign language, they babble with their hands in a series of linguistic developments that parallel vocal babble. Today's video is that of a little boy well along in language acquisition, babbling in American Sign Language with his deaf caregiver.

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