Babies' flexible squeals may enable them to talk later

Babies' flexible squeals may enable them to talk later

Communication advance in months after birth tied to language learning

By Bruce Bower, 18:04 PM April 1, 2013

Babies take a critical step toward learning to speak before they can say a word or even babble. By 3 months of age, infants flexibly use three types of sounds — squeals, growls and vowel-like utterances — to express a range of emotions, from positive to neutral to negative, researchers say.

Attaching sounds freely to different emotions represents a basic building block of spoken language, say psycholinguist D. Kimbrough Oller of the University of Memphis in Tennessee and his colleagues. Any...

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