Patrick Shafto, an associate professor of mathematics and computer science at Rutgers University-Newark (RU-N), conducted a research project on using mathematical models to find the best way for babies to learn language. The research shows that one of the best ways for babies to learn may be “motherese”- which is the word the researchers used to describe the sing-song way that mothers talk to their babies.
“The sounds that are selected exaggerate the important properties that babies need to attend to and learn about,” Shafto says. “If you exaggerate in the correct way, what you get is a learner who learns more quickly from less data.” It makes sense to Shafto that over time the baby’s brain is then able to process the “motherese” into regular language.
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