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How Babies Talk: The Magic and Mystery of Language in the First Three Years of Life Paperback – July 1, 2000


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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Both mothers and specialists in infant language, Golinkoff (education, Univ. of Delaware) and Hirsh-Pasek (psychology, Temple Univ.) present an in-depth study of language development during the first three years of life. Beginning with the fetus and newborn, the authors take the reader through the steps and stages of language learning. The text is interspersed with activities readers can use to assess the specific development of their own children. While stressing the individual differences of children in using language, each chapter includes indicators of delayed development to alert parents and caregivers. How Babies Talk should be useful and interesting to anyone involved with young children. Recommended for public and academic libraries.AKay L. Brodie, Chesapeake Coll., Wye Mills, MD
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Language learning is innate, and children throughout the world achieve the same milestones in much the same order. Recent advances in theoretical models and methodological tools reveal the "language instinct" in babies, newborns, and even fetuses. Armed with an understanding of language development--from what fetuses hear to infant communication to crying, babbling, pointing, and first words to toddler vocabulary building, simple sentences, and the emergence of grammar to using language to get what is wanted--parents will be better able to encourage children and to spot when development is not proceeding normally. The book's prose is crisp, clear, concise, often humorous. The contents are unusually substantive for a handbook targeted to parents, as the bibliography of scientific citations confirms. Important scientific results and their applications to daily life are highlighted as lessons under the heading "Scientific Sleuthing Pays Off" and modified for use at home as "Try This" exercises. A key resource for parenting collections. Kathryn Carpenter --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Plume; Reissue edition (July 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0452281733
  • ISBN-13: 978-0452281738
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #218,211 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 9, 1999
Format: Hardcover
How Babies Talk is a fascinating study that puts the latest discoveries from the Infant Language Laboratory of Temple University and the Infant Language Project at the University of Delaware into the hands of parents everywhere. Written in an easy style and organized in a usable form, this highly useful book belongs in nurseries everywhere.
In the introduction the background of our knowledge of language growth is summarized, and the reader is brought up to date on the importance of this new field of study of the development of the very young. Then the first chapter actually discusses the language experiences of the child who is still in the womb and gives suggestions on early stimulation and interaction. Next, the auditory and verbal environment of the infant is addressed. Equipped with the very latest research on what the best environment for the very young is, the new parent can enter into the child's world with confidence that what is being done will insure the best foundation the child could possibly have.
Each chapter covers a new stage of development from four months of age to thirty-six months. First the stage of development is discussed and then questions that may arise are answered. Difficulties are also addressed, such as "When should you worry?" and "It's never too early to start learning a second language." Questions that have always troubled parents are answered with up to the minute research and experience. Then, at the end of each chapter, is a feature entitled "Try This:" that will involve the parent with the child in an interactive activity.
How Babies Talk is a book that parents have needed for a very long time, and it will answer more questions than most of us have thought to ask. It belongs in every home where young children are growing up.
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Michelle on May 24, 2001
Format: Paperback
I found this book extraordinarily helpful in understanding and tracking my daugher's learning. I gained three valuable insights from this book: (1) a clearer understanding of how language acquisition occurs (2) specific examples of how I can assist my child with the language acquisition process (3) a valuable insight to how much my daughter can understand prior to her ability to communicate it.
This book brought additional enjoyment because after reading this book, I immediately noticed additional examples of my daughter's progression in language learning that I'd previously overlooked.
Additionally, the book contains a balanced mixture of research and specific examples. This combination makes it both credible and readable. I actually found it hard to put down, which is very impressive for a research based book!
I'd also highly recommend Baby Signs by Linda Acredolo
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By NYC Reader on August 11, 2003
Format: Paperback
I looked and looked for a book like this. I just wanted to learn how a baby manages to learn language - and why my daughter's first ten words included such irrelevant words as 'duck' and 'buckle.'
The book does an excellent job at explaining just how scientists believe a child is learning at each stage. It also explains the experiments that they use and how the conclusions are reached - fascinating.
This is NOT a book to help you guage whether or not your child needs assistance. This is NOT a book to make your baby into a super-baby. This is a book that gives you clear insight into how his mind is developing. I would buy this book for anyone with a baby.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 7, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This book offers a parent some insight into the processes involved for a baby learning to speak. I have found myself rereading each age-related section as my son ages. More than anything, I think this book helped me to relax about my son's learning to talk; speech development is occuring even though it might not be verbalized at the moment. The references to the various research studies offered me some ideas about methods of communicating with my son without the aid of his speech. His glances, his reactions, all are methods of communicating with me, as long as I'm receptive enough to pay attention!
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By Barb L. on December 21, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is absolutely the most interesting book about language acquisition that I have ever read. Some of the discussions will leave you amazed and saying to yourself, "I never thought of that!" Like, how do babies know to look at your eyes when you talk to them when it is your mouth that is moving? This book follows the progression of language acquision from pre-natal days to the age of three, and is written in clear, readable, relatable language, not "textbook talk." The authors are clearly experts, but their style is conversational and witty. I guarantee that this book makes for fascinating reading and a better understanding of just what a delightful process it is to find out "how babies talk."
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By Ben on July 7, 2009
Format: Paperback
This terrific book is a very readable overview of how babies and toddlers learn to communicate, first without words and then with words. The book has occasional boxes with tips for things that we parents can do with our kids to observe their language development and to help them develop their language, too. The book is very reassuring for parents whose kids may be slower to get to that first word. I've recommended it to a lot of new parents and they've enjoyed it, too. This is not a great choice for someone who is looking for something more technical with brain scans or linguistic analysis. It's definitely for readers who are parents, will soon be parents, or who work in childcare settings.
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