The Reading / Listening - Baby Talk - Level 2

A study said mothers across the world speak to their babies in the same way. Researchers from the Baby Lab at Princeton University said "motherese" is a universal language. It is not just cute noises and coochy-coos. The words and sounds mothers say to babies are quite complex. They are a special form of communication. Mothers use them in the same way across the world. They help the language development in babies. Dr Elise Piazza, co-author of the research, said baby talk is more important than we thought. She said: "It is not something to be embarrassed about at all."



The researchers recorded 24 different mothers talking to babies aged between seven months and one year. The mothers spoke 10 different languages, including English, Mandarin and Russian. Dr Piazza said: "We basically brought mothers into the lab and had them play with and read to their own babies, just like they would at home." She said mothers changed the quality of their voices when speaking to babies, in any language. The study didn't look at fathers' talk, but Piazza said that it is likely fathers would also speak to their babies in a similar way across the world.

Try the same news story at these levels:

    Baby Talk - Level 0 Baby Talk - Level 1   or  Baby Talk - Level 3

Sources
  • https://www.theguardian.com/science/2017/oct/12/coochy-coo-why-baby-talk-is-more-sophisticated-than-you-might-think
  • https://www.news-medical.net/news/20171013/Timbre-shifting-is-a-new-attribute-of-e2809cbaby-talke2809d-found-in-all-languages-study-reveals.aspx
  • http://www.ctvnews.ca/sci-tech/the-science-of-baby-talk-motherese-is-a-universal-language-study-confirms-1.3631028


Make sure you try all of the online activities for this reading and listening - There are dictations, multiple choice, drag and drop activities, crosswords, hangman, flash cards, matching activities and a whole lot more. Please enjoy :-)



Phrase Matching

Paragraph 1

  1. mothers across
  2. It is not just cute
  3. babies are quite
  4. in the same
  5. language
  6. co-author
  7. more important than
  8. something to be
  1. development
  2. embarrassed about
  3. the world
  4. complex
  5. we thought
  6. way
  7. of the research
  8. noises

Paragraph 2

  1. The researchers recorded 24
  2. babies aged between seven months
  3. 10 different
  4. brought mothers into the
  5. play with and read
  6. changed the quality
  7. speaking to babies,
  8. The study didn't look at
  1. languages
  2. fathers' talk
  3. to their own babies
  4. in any language
  5. different mothers
  6. lab
  7. of their voices
  8. and one year

Listening — Listen and fill in the gaps

A study said mothers across the world (1) ___________________ babies in (2) ___________________. Researchers from the Baby Lab at Princeton University said "motherese" is a universal language. It is not (3) ___________________ and coochy-coos. The words and sounds mothers say to babies are quite complex. They are a (4) ___________________ communication. Mothers use them in the same way across the world. They (5) ___________________ development in babies. Dr Elise Piazza, co-author of the research, said baby talk is more important than we thought. She said: "It is not something to be embarrassed (6) ___________________."

The researchers (7) ___________________ mothers talking to babies aged between seven months and one year. The mothers (8) ___________________ languages, including English, Mandarin and Russian. Dr Piazza said: "We (9) ___________________ mothers into the lab and had them play with and read to their own babies, just like they would at home." She said mothers (10) ___________________ of their voices when speaking to babies, in any language. The study (11) ___________________ fathers' talk, but Piazza said that it is likely fathers would also speak to their babies (12) ___________________ way across the world.

Put a slash (/) where the spaces are

Astudysaidmothersacrosstheworldspeaktotheirbabiesinthesamewa
y.ResearchersfromtheBabyLabatPrincetonUniversitysaid"mothers
e"isauniversallanguage.Itisnotjustcutenoisesandcoochy-coos.Th
ewordsandsoundsmotherssaytobabiesarequitecomplex.Theyareas
pecialformofcommunication.Mothersusetheminthesamewayacrosst
heworld.Theyhelpthelanguagedevelopmentinbabies.DrElisePiazza,
co-authoroftheresearch,saidbabytalkismoreimportantthanwethou
ght.Shesaid:"Itisnotsomethingtobeembarrassedaboutatall."Theres
earchersrecorded24differentmotherstalkingtobabiesagedbetweens
evenmonthsandoneyear.Themothersspoke10differentlanguages,in
cludingEnglish,MandarinandRussian.DrPiazzasaid:"Webasicallybro
ughtmothersintothelabandhadthemplaywithandreadtotheirownbab
ies,justliketheywouldathome."Shesaidmotherschangedthequalityo
ftheirvoiceswhenspeakingtobabies,inanylanguage.Thestudydidn'tl
ookatfathers'talk,butPiazzasaidthatitislikelyfatherswouldalsospeak
totheirbabiesinasimilarwayacrosstheworld.

Student survey

Write five GOOD questions about this topic in the table. Do this in pairs. Each student must write the questions on his / her own paper. When you have finished, interview other students. Write down their answers.

(Please look at page 12 of the PDF to see a photocopiable example of this activity.)

Discussion — Write your own questions

STUDENT A’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student B)

(a) ________________

(b) ________________

(c) ________________

(d) ________________

(e) ________________

(f) ________________

(g) ________________

(h) ________________

STUDENT B’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student A)

(i) ________________

(j) ________________

(k) ________________

(l) ________________

(m) ________________

(n) ________________

(o) ________________

(p) ________________





Free writing

Write about this topic for 10 minutes. Comment on your partner’s paper.

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Answers

(Please check your answers against the article above.

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