a special program of the National Emergency Medicine Association (NEMA)

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Week: 591.1 

Guest: Jean Andruski, linguist/researcher, Eloquent Technologies, Ithaca, NY 

Topic: Importance of ‘Babyspeak" 

Host/Producer: Steve Girard 

NEMA: The importance of ‘Babyspeak’...coming up... 

SPOT: NEMA...the National Emergency Medicine Association...fights our worst health enemies - heart disease, stroke, trauma. Call 800-332-6362. 

NEMA: What’s it like to be a baby, trying to tap into the voices in the world around you?  

ANDRUSKI: It’s simply a stream of sound. It’s something like, if you’re put into a room with a bunch of video tapes or something along that line...of people speaking a language you know absolutely nothing about. And somehow you have to start figuring out what this language means. Infants are actually learning things about the speech sounds in their native language, by the time they’re six months old.  

NEMA: Jean Andruski is a linguist and researcher at Eloquent Technologies in Ithaca, New York...who says parents use a dialect of greater inflection, slower and more enunciated speech, which may help their child get on the language learning path. But she says it’s not the same as the silly ‘babyspeak we sometimes use later...  

ANDRUSKI: And the other is what a lot of people seem to do, especially when a child reaches about one or two years of age, is that instead of articulating more clearly, they actually articulate less clearly, and they’ll say things like ‘wiwul’ for ‘little’...and that’s definitely not what we’re talking about.  

NEMA: Next, a study of ‘babyspeak’ or ‘parentese’ around the world...I’m Steve Girard at The Heart of the Matter.