Parental talk influences babys language development

Washington: Parents, please note-how you speak to your child has a big influence on their language development, says a new study.

Researchers at Macquarie University have carried out the study and found that the way parents talk to children is key to building their ability to understand and create sentences of their own.

"We use changes in pitch and rhythm when we talk to children, and we emphasise important words. This is what children usually learn and produce first," said Prof Katherine Demuth, the lead researcher.

But it`s not just mothers, fathers, older siblings and virtually anyone who talks to a young child naturally adopts child-directed speech, or "motherese", say the researchers.

Previous studies have suggested this helps children identify where words begin and end, and provides them with the clues needed to help them develop their own language skills, according to them.

"A child learning their first language is like an adult learning a second one -you have no idea what`s going on and it`s just one long speech stream. Child-directed speech helps unpack this for children and gives them the tools to help them identify sounds, syllables and finally words and sentences," said Prof Demuth.

The researchers recommend a simple method for developing language skills -talking and reading to children.