Our findings suggest that diminutives and reduplication, which are frequently found in baby talk words – across many different languages – can facilitate the early stage of vocabulary development.
— Dr Mitsuhiko Ota
School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences
1. Baby Babble Type 1: QRV (Quasi-Resonant Vocalization)
  • Least mature sound.
  • Often confused with making a fuss.

2. Baby Babble Type 2: FRV (Fully-Resonant Vowel)
  • Correlated with baby niggas' vocal tract opening up at 3 or 4 months.
  • Now able to pronounce their O's and A's.

3. Baby Babble Type 3: MSFR (Marginal Syllable)
  • Start throwing consonants into the mix (6 months).

4. Baby Babble Type 4: Canonical Syllables
  • Ba-bas, da-das.
  • Parent niggas interpret them as most speech-like.

Cries and tantrums are a form of communication. [Full reading]

"Researchers Mike Potegal and James Green found that tantrums involve two predictable emotions: anger, followed by distress.

1. The majority of tantrum vocalizations can be classified as scream, yell, cry, and whine by trained observers

2. There is a basis for these perceptual classifications in specific acoustic characteristics that are similar to those used in previous studies of infants’ and adults’ vocal expressions of emotions.

3. Vocal expressions of anger and sadness can be further divided into vocalizations representing different emotion intensities. This proposal can be sorted into four subhypotheses:

A) Among the vocalization types, scream and yell are acoustically most similar to each other

B) Cry and whine are acoustically most similar to each other

C) Referring to previous characterization of adult emotional speech, yell, and scream are more anger-like, whine and cry are more sadness-like

D) Within their respective emotion categories, scream represents a higher intensity of anger than yell, cry represents a higher intensity of sadness than whine

Full article: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3192404/

Two Types of Tantrums

Full article

There are two types of tantrums — emotional tantrums and a Little Nero tantrums.

Depending on past behavior and parents’ reactions, some children learn to use tantrums as a means to get what they want. That’s when you have Little Nero tantrums. However, even when children throw a Little Nero tantrums, things can get out of hand and they turn into emotional tantrums.

At birth, babies have billions of brain cells (neurons) but not many brain cell connections (synapses). The network of connections is formed through life experiences. Temper tantrums are some of the most crucial life experiences in sculpting the brain.

When a toddler is overcome by stress such as rage, a little alarm (amygdala) inside his emotional brain (aka limbic or lower brain) is triggered. This alarm is mature at birth because an infant needs to be able to sense distress and signal to his parents, usually by crying, to survive. On the other hand, a child’s local brain (aka prefrontal cortex or higher brain) is not sufficiently developed to manage that alarm system.

When this happens, stress hormones are released to course through the toddler’s body and emotions become intense. This hormonal storm causes anguish and emotional pain which amounts to physical pain. The stress hormones also hinder the toddler’s ability to access the rational thinking inside his logical brain. Essentially, the toddler is having a “brain freeze”. Similar things can happen in grownups if they haven’t learned how to handle their own emotions at young age. You hear people say, “I was angry. I don’t know what I was thinking.” Well, in those moments, they were not.

To control strong emotions, a child needs to develop connections (integrate) between the logical brain and the emotional brain. Only then can the logical brain rationally calm the emotional brain.

Decoding The "Secret Language Of Babies" with NPR

Full article:


Bababababa, dadadadada, ahgagaga. Got that?

Babies are speaking to us all the time, but most of us have no clue what they're saying. To us non-babies, it all sounds like charming, mysterious, gobbleydegook. To researchers, though, babbling is knowable, predictable, and best of all, teachable. This week, we'll find out how to decipher the vocabulary, and the behavior, of the newest members of the human family.

First, we explore the wordless conversation of synchronous movement, and the bonding that happens when a parent and child sway in harmony. In her 2014 study on toddlers, Laura Cirelli discovered that 14-month-olds who felt they were bouncing in sync with a dance partner were more likely to help that partner pick up an object that was out of reach. Music and rhythm creates connection because, as Cirelli says, synchronous movement is its own kind of language—a language of affection. "When we are moving with other people [and] singing familiar songs, these are cueing us, babies and adults, to think about the relationships we have with these people."

"I find babies are so impressive," says researcher Laura Cirelli. "We can't ask them what they're thinking. We have to come up with clever ways of finding out what they're thinking."
Westend61/Getty Images/Westend61

Psychology professor Rachel Albert studies babbling, which until recently was considered to be mere motor practice, something babies did to exercise their mouths. Few people thought of it as a vocabulary all its own.

But parents, take note: All those repetitive syllables are an important signal. Albert says they tell us that babies are "putting themselves in this optimal state of being ready to learn." Babbles create an opportunity for a social feedback loop — also known as a conversation. And if you listen closely, you can even decipher a babble's four distinctive categories, from the whiny "nasal creaking" of newborns to the more mature bah-bahs and dah-dahs of older babies.
Baby Talk

But Albert says if you can't tell your "quasi-resonant vocalizations" from your "canonical syllables," don't worry too much. All you really need to know is this: babbling equals learning.

Additional reading (and viewing):

There are a wealth of interesting videos on the language and behavior of babies and toddlers. We recommend:

(x) This demonstration of Laura Cirelli's experiment with music and synchrony in babies.

(x) This video of a little girl named Katrina during a dinnertime meltdown. In a 2011 study, Researchers Mike Potegal and James Green found that tantrums involve two predictable emotions: anger, followed by distress.

(x) And check out this video of a baby demonstrating repeated syllables known as "canonical babbling."

This episode of Hidden Brain is part of an NPR-wide project called How To Raise A Human. It was produced by Parth Shah and edited by Tara Boyle. Our team includes Rhaina Cohen, Jenny Schmidt, Thomas Lu, and Laura Kwerel. Follow us on Twitter @hiddenbrain, and listen for our stories each week on your local public radio station.