Building Blocks of Talk

When babies babble, they may say a lot about speech

4:38pm, November 15, 2002

When you tell someone to stop babbling, your meaning is obvious: Quit talking gibberish and speak clearly.

Give the youngest babblers a break, though. Scientists now suspect that the inveterate babbling of 7- to 12-month-old babies contains remarkably systematic vocal features that, soon enough, render them able to utter such parental favorites as "No," "More," and "Why?" A better understanding of babbling may even allow researchers unprecedented glimpses into the controversial prehistory of human languages.

This article is available only to subscribing members. Join SSP today or Log in.

More from Science News