Baby’s First Words
For many English-speaking children, the words “mama” and “dada” are two of the first words they learn to say consistently. Traditional logic dictates that the reason for this is because a baby is drawn to their parents, and (in most cases) their parents are the predominant people in their young lives. However, scientists believe they have an alternative reason.
The study involved taking brain scans of two or three day old newborns while they were hearing made up words. The scans pointed to limited or no response when the word had no repetition in it (such as “napena”), but increased activity when the word had repetition (such as “mubaba”). The scientists believe that part of the reason “mama” and “dada” are so commonly found in early language is because of the structure of the words.
And English isn’t the only language to employ repetition in parent terms. French, Italian, Swedish, and Spanish all use “papa” or “pappa” for father, for example, leading the scientists to speculate that human brains are “hard wired” for this type of early language development.
Source: Why ‘Mama’ and ‘Dada’ are baby’s first words via MSNBC.
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