Par­ents’ joy hear­ing their baby’s first word

Daily Trust - - CITY NEWS - By Umar Shehu Us­man

The first words ut­tered by a baby have al­ways been a cause for hap­pi­ness for par­ents, es­pe­cially the moth­ers, even to the point of tears of joy for some. The mother has a strong con­nec­tion with her baby, an un­break­able bond. It there­fore is an ex­cit­ing time for par­ents when their baby shows progress in com­mu­ni­cat­ing.

The mother and baby en­joy two-way con­ver­sa­tion as the mum feels the in­fants’ com­pany ami­able for her in the ab­sence of her spouse. The child takes nearly 80 per cent of the moth­ers’ at­ten­tion away from the fam­ily. The mother en­sures that she sup­plies the child with ev­ery­thing it needs.

Of­ten­times, a baby’s abil­ity to ut­ter words ap­pears to drag in­ter­minably to the over­anx­ious par­ents. The mother re­lent­lessly speaks to her baby from the first day; from the mo­ment the baby breathes the earthly air. She’s op­ti­mistic that sooner than later, the child would re­spond to her.

She will keep mak­ing se­ries of sounds to the baby such as: ‘say papa’, ‘say mama’, ‘say baba, dada’ and so on. The baby, how­ever, is only able to pro­duce one word syl­la­bles such as ‘ma’, ‘da’ or pa’ which, all the same, make the mother over­joyed upon hear­ing them. In­ter­est­ingly, given the choice, most moth­ers would love to hear the baby ut­ter ‘mama’, rather than ‘papa’ as its first words, and vice versa with the dad, es­pe­cially for those just start­ing a fam­ily.

Most likely, the child be­comes com­fort­able with the bi­l­abial lex­i­cons (the let­ters b, m and p) as a re­sult of less stress at­tached to them dur­ing pro­nun­ci­a­tion. Not­with­stand­ing, some ex­perts have de­bated which is eas­ier, ‘mama’ or ‘dada’, for a baby to ut­ter.

Ac­cord­ing to an Amer­i­can lin­guist, a cog­ni­tive sci­en­tist and a philoso­pher, Pro­fes­sor Emer­i­tus, Noam Chom­sky, “lan­guage is in­nate, or in other words, we are born with a ca­pac­ity for lan­guage ac­qui­si­tion.”

Chom­sky be­lieved that “lan­guage is so com­plex, with an un­lim­ited com­bi­na­tion of sounds, words and phrases, that en­vi­ron­men­tal learn­ing is not able to ac­count for lan­guage ac­qui­si­tion alone. Ev­ery child is born with the (LAD) Lan­guage De­vice.”

Babbling is a stage in child de­vel­op­ment and a state in lan­guage ac­qui­si­tion dur­ing which an in­fant ap­pears to be ex­per­i­ment­ing with ut­ter­ing ar­tic­u­late sounds, but does not yet pro­duce any rec­og­niz­able words.

The ex­perts say babbling in­volves redu­pli­cated sounds. Soon those sounds will be­come real words; ‘mama’; ‘dada’; may slip out and bring tears to your eyes as early as six months. From then on, your baby will Ac­qui­si­tion pick up more words from you and ev­ery­one else around him. And some­time be­tween 18 months and two years, the child be­gins to form two- to four-word sen­tences.

It is worth not­ing that the more chil­dren are given the chance to play with speech and speech sounds, the more we are help­ing them to de­velop their speak­ing and com­mu­ni­ca­tion skills.

A new re­search has sug­gested that ba­bies be­gan to ab­sorb lan­guage when they are in the womb - dur­ing the last 10 weeks of preg­nancy. So after birth, rep­e­ti­tion will help them un­der­stand and later speak the words.

A child pro­duces sounds at his own plea­sure. The mother also helps the child in mas­ter­ing a lan­guage. A mother is the first ped­a­gogue an in­fant en­coun­ters be­fore the en­vi­ron­ment.

So it is ev­ery mother’s night­mare to re­al­ize that her in­fant is deaf, thus, she’s al­ways speak­ing to the child, hop­ing to hear the baby make a sound; mean­ing­ful or mean­ing­less. That eases the ten­sion the mother un­der­goes.

How­ever if the child is get­ting close to two years and show­ing no signs of try­ing to speak, it is rec­om­mended that the par­ents talk to their doc­tor to get some ad­vice.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Nigeria

© PressReader. All rights reserved.