Babies babble in just the right way

12:59pm, November 27, 2001

From San Diego at the Society for Neuroscience meeting.

A baby's adorable babbling brings smiles to parents and grandparents, but it's also a topic of serious study for scientists examining how people develop their language skills (SN: 5/27/00, p. 344: There's a debate, for example, as to whether babbling is a precursor to language or just

random sounds produced as the infant learns how to move its mouth.

The discovery that babies babble out of the right side of their mouths is the latest evidence suggesting that the infantile sounds are more than noise, say Siobhan Holowka and Laura Ann Petitto of McGill University in Montreal. Babbling "is absolutely a linguistic phenomenon," asserts Petitto.

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