Wondering how your child learnt a new word? He or she must have picked up from a friend. As per a study, young children learn new words more effectively from other children.
Researcher Yuanyuan Wang from Ohio University, was quoted as saying, “Much of what we know about the world is learned from other people. This is especially true for young children.”
Speech, according to Wang, is full of paralinguistic information about the speaker including age, gender and social class. Children, in turn, learn and process the information in speech to undertsand and integrate speaker-specific information.
For the study, the researchers set up two experiments. In the first, toddlers watched side-by-side video clips of two speakers reciting a nursery rhyme while listening to speech that matched either the age or gender of one of the two speakers. In the second, speakers of different ages were used to teach new words to toddlers.
According to Wang, toddlers take interest in the development of their own speech patterns and may be more attuned to the sound of other child speakers that resemble their own.
“Sensitivity to talker properties is found to be related to speech processing and language development. These are related to later personal, academic, social and overall achievements,” Wang added.