4 Skills that Babies Use to Acquire Language
Your baby has been learning language before you knew. In the first few weeks of life, your baby will cry, hiccup, fuss, cough, stare and sleep. It may appear as if he isn’t learning anything about you or his environment. However he is way ahead of you, he has been learning since before he was born.
Babies have been endowed with skills which help them acquire language naturally. This set of skills helps them acquire an understanding of the surroundings, assist them in expressing themselves and in interacting with the environment. Let’s peep into this amazing set of skills that help your baby acquire language!
Listening Skills– The listening skills help the baby recognize and attach meaning to whatever he is hearing. Hence you should talk to your baby from the first day of his life. He is listening to the fine details of your voice, a voice which he prefers over other sounds.
Vocal Skills – Initially your infant’s vocal skills consist of primarily cries, burps and may be some oooo types of sounds. Soon the baby learns to make noises that almost sound like words you speak. Vowels, coos and goos emerge and make way for more complex repertoire of sounds. As they grow, infants experiment more and more with their mouth, tongue and throat. As parents, you should always react to these sounds your infant is making. When he makes these sounds, go ahead and make them back. Very soon, the two of you will be having a whole “vocal” conversation.
Interaction Skills – Babies always have certain preferences that directly lead to wonderful interactions between them and their caregivers. For instance, during the first few months after birth, infants prefer looking at objects varied in shapes and lighting. They like to see something that has angles and curves, as well as differences or contrasts in lightness and darkness. Parents should hold the baby so that they look at their face. This is a great position for boosting his visual skills. The initial smiles which are non social soon are shaped into interactive smiling gestures. The way you react to your baby’s smile helps him understand this tool for expressing happiness. These preferences of your baby to your face and voice pave a path for future meaningful interactions.
Joint Attention – This is a very important skill that your child needs for developing language. Joint attention is when two or more individuals are focused on, or observing the same object, person or event. This skill is important because when you both are looking at the same object, your comments about that object have more meaning to him. He will benefit from your language models (the way you speak and express) because the language you use is directly tied to the object of his focus.