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Old 11th August 2009, 12:17 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Baby hear, baby speak

Baby hear, baby speak



By: June Cheong


Speak Singlish to your baby and that is what your tiny tot will pick up.

"Children will use the language they are exposed to and familiar with. If family members use Singlish, the baby will likely pick up the colloquialisms, rhythm and speech patterns that make up Singlish," said Ms Fiona Walker, principal director of Julia Gabriel Centre for Learning and Chiltern House.

"Children who are exposed to both standard English and Singlish can switch effortlessly. This ability to switch between codes of communication will be modelled on their parents, grandparents and teachers," she added.

Babies imbibe the skills of speech even before they utter their first syllable. In the first few months of an infant's life, cooing, or a pleasant, repetitive vocalisation, occurs.

By six months, an infant usually babbles or produces repetitive syllables like "ba ba" or "da da".

Simple words like ball enter his vocabulary by his 12th month.

At 18 months old, he should be able to remember and pronounce at least eight different words.

By the age of two, most babies can use short phrases like "more milk" and begin to form sentences with two or three words.

Dr Angelia Chua Hwee Ling, the head of Yishun Polyclinic at National Healthcare Group Polyclinics, said: "Talking is inextricably linked to hearing. By listening to others speak, your baby learns how sentences are structured."

Besides absorbing speech and sounds around him, a baby's ability to speak also depends on mastery of his jaw, vocal cords, lips and tongue.

The human need for socialisation also encourages babies to communicate with other people.

Ms Walker said: "This is the motivation for them to learn the language of those around them. Without this social desire, their language development could be delayed, as seen in children with social communication disorders."

Among the common first words that babies pick up are mama, car, ball, dolly, doggie and bye bye.

When asked what parents can do to encourage their toddlers to speak, Dr Chua said: "Talk to your child. Reading is a great way to help develop your child's language skills.

"Play listening games, songs and sing nursery rhymes to them like 'I'm a little teapot'."

Dr Chua added that if your baby does not speak any words by 15 months, it is prudent to take him to the doctor.

If he rarely makes or imitates sounds, you should also have his hearing checked as his behaviour may indicate a hearing problem which can lead to a speech delay.

If your baby refuses to speak or engage with you socially, such as maintaining eye contact or smiling, he may have a social communication disorder and it is important to take him to a paediatrician.

Sometimes a toddler's refusal to speak may just be a case of shyness.

Ms Walker said: "Young children and toddlers will often refuse to speak if they feel pressured to do so.

"If you notice that happening, then it may be best to back off in your attempts to improve his speech and spend time singing and reading to him without attempting to draw him into conversation. Often the removal of the pressure is all that may be needed."

This article was first published in Mind Your Body, The Straits Times.

Source: http://health.asiaone.com/Health/Wom...07-159744.html

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Old 11th August 2009, 01:14 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Baby hear, baby speak

So once pregnant must speak good english?

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Old 12th August 2009, 03:02 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Baby hear, baby speak

thats why i always oppose my parents speaking "baby language" to my nephew.

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