Um, Uh … Speech Stumbles Help Toddlers Learn New Words
Stuck withِ a word onِ the tip ofِ your tongue whenِ talking toِ a toddler.
Don’t worry — a newِ study finds thatِ hesitant speech mayِ helpِ the kid learn newِ vocabulary.
Language disfluencies, orِ the ums andِ uhs thatِ pepper everyday speech, give young children a clue thatِ the nextِ word coming willِ beِ a newِ one, according toِ theِ study, whichِ wasِ published online Thursday (April 14) inِ the journal Developmental Science.
Uh, um …
Uh andِ um mightِ seem likeِ useless noises, butِ previous studies haveِ foundِ that theyِ convey lots ofِ information, Kidd said.
In theِ firstِ group, theِ toddlers wereِ aroundِ 2 1/2 years old.
Read: Why Bilingual Babies Reveal About theِ Brain] Each toddler wouldِ sit inِ front ofِ a screen andِ watch asِ two objects, oneِ familiar (such asِ a ball) andِ one made-up (such asِ a pretzel-like shape theِ researchers dubbed a wub), flashed on-screen.
That’s exactlyِ what theِ researchers found, Kidd said.
When theِ speaker fumbled forِ the word, kids inِ the 2 1/2-year-old group looked expectantly atِ the newِ objects 70 percent ofِ the time.
One possibleِ alternative explanation, Kidd said, isِ that kids mistook the, uh … asِ the nameِ of theِ newِ object andِ that’s whyِ theyِ looked atِ it.