Look who's talking: speech style and social context in language input to infants are linked to concurrent and future speech development

Nairán Ramírez-Esparza, Adrián García-Sierra, Patricia K. Kuhl
2014 Developmental Science  
Language input is necessary for language learning, yet little is known about whether, in natural environments, the speech style and social context of language input to children impacts language development. In the present study we investigated the relationship between language input and language development, examining both the style of parental speech, comparing 'parentese' speech to standard speech, and the social context in which speech is directed to children, comparing one-on-one (1:1) to
more » ... oup social interactions. Importantly, the language input variables were assessed at home using digital first-person perspective recordings of the infants' auditory environment as they went about their daily lives (N =26, 11-and 14-months-old). We measured language development using (a) concurrent speech utterances, and (b) word production at 24 months. Parentese speech in 1:1 contexts is positively correlated with both concurrent speech and later word production. Mediation analyses further show that the effect of parentese speech-1:1 on infants' later language is mediated by concurrent speech. Our results suggest that both the social context and the style of speech in language addressed to children are strongly linked to a child's future language development.
doi:10.1111/desc.12172 pmid:24702819 pmcid:PMC4188803 fatcat:sqi4wjv3gje7pnjohvhhxgvuai