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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