Ba­bies in Scot­land less likely to know about car­rots

The Herald on Sunday - - VOICES -

BA­BIES in Scot­land are less likely to know what a car­rot is, ac­cord­ing to new re­search.

Lan­guage re­searchers car­ried out one of the largest sur­veys of the first words used by Bri­tish chil­dren. They found that “thank you” finds its way into their vo­cab­u­lary most of­ten in East An­glia, the West Mid­lands and North­ern Ire­land but is least of­ten used in Wales and Lon­don.

Car­rot was used by ba­bies more in Wales than in Scot­land.

The use of “sorry” also varies by re­gion. It is most preva­lent in Scot­land and the south­west and although Welsh ba­bies say it more than “thank you”, those in Lon­don are once again at the bot­tom when it comes to com­mon cour­tesy.

The study in­volved 2,000 fam­i­lies and was car­ried out by Michelle Peter, from Liver­pool univer­sity.

She told the BBC2 pro­gramme Ba­bies: Their Won­der­ful World, due to be shown on Mon­day night, that the words ba­bies used early on re­flected their early ex­pe­ri­ences.

She said: “The words chil­dren are pro­duc­ing first tend to be so­cial words, or words for peo­ple who are im­por­tant in their lives.

“Mama and dada are go­ing to be the most sig­nif­i­cant peo­ple in their lives but also so­cial words like ‘hiya’ and ‘thank you’. Then there are other sig­nif­i­cant char­ac­ters in their lives, even if they come from un­likely sources. You can also see Peppa.”

She said there was also ev­i­dence that the lan­guage used by ba­bies gave clues about fam­ily and ex­tended fam­i­lies.

“One of the early learned words was grandma. It was pretty pop­u­lar across the UK but it was most pop­u­lar in North­ern Ire­land or the north­east. That might be be­cause chil­dren in those ar­eas might be see­ing their grand­par­ents more of­ten.”

The av­er­age baby had around 50 words at 18 months and over the fol­lowi ng six months t heir vo­cab­u­lary in­creased at a rate of more than one word a day. At the age of two, the av­er­age baby had about 300 words but those with the largest vo­cab­u­lary had more than 400.

Dr Peter said over­all, ba­bies tended to be po­lite with 63 per cent were able to say thank you, she said. “Most of them knew the word sorry from early on.”

Most ba­bies know the word ‘sorry’ from early on, ac­cord­ing to a study

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