Babies learn similar first words

A study in the July 2008 issue of Developmental Psychology examined the first words uttered by hundreds of English-, Mandarin-, and Cantonese-speaking infants between the ages of 8 and 16 months. Interestingly, 6 of the top 20 first words were heard in all three languages: Daddy, Mommy, Hi, Bye, UhOh, and WoofWoof. The three groups learned words describing objects found in their homes that could be manipulated, rather than the names of large objects or things that would be found outside. “People terms” were the most commonly reported in all three languages (e.g., kinship terms, names, categories), with Mandarin and Cantonese speakers using a wider variety of words and types of people terms.

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