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There's a much better way to talk to babies than baby talk

It turns out, a lot gets lost in translation when you talk to a baby in baby talk. A new study from the University of Washington found that babies who are spoken "parentese" have better language development than babies who are spoken to in "baby talk." The study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Baby talk tends to consist of simplified grammar and exaggerated sounds. "What people think of as baby talk is a combination of silly sounds and words, sometimes with incorrect grammar," Naja Ferjan Ramirez an assistant professor at the department of linguistics at the University of Washington told CNN, "like 'Oooh, your shozie wozies on your widdle feets."


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Parentese, on the other hand, consists of adults using real worlds in a more baby-friendly cadence. The term has been around since the mid-1980s, and a lot of parents tend to do it naturally. "Parentese has three characteristics," Patricia Kuhl, the co-director of the Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences at the University of Washington, told CNN. "One of them is that it has a higher overall pitch, about an octave higher. Another is that intonation contours are very curvy; the highs are higher, the lows are lower, and it sounds excited and happy. And then it's slower, with pauses between phrases to give the baby time to participate in this social interaction."

Researchers at the University of Washington studied 48 families. All of the families naturally spoke some parentese to their children, however researchers coached half of the parents on how to speak proper parentese. The parents came into the lab for coaching when their babies were 6, 10, and 14-months old.

The children who were spoken to in parentese had a 100-word vocabulary by the time they were 18-months-old. In comparison, the babies that weren't spoken to by parents coached by scientists had a 60-word vocabulary. "Children of coached parents produced real words, such as ball or milk, at almost twice the rate of children whose parents were in the control group," Ferjan Ramirez told CNN.

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The parents were also encouraged to talk to their babies in back-and-forth conversational exchanges. According to researchers, more turn-taking correlated with babies who had better language development. It turns out, one of the most important part of parentese might be that it engages babies and encourages to respond, even if they're still only fluent in baby talk. "Babies need to be engaged socially in order to learn language. They have to have a drive to communicate. They have to want to, and parentese seems to help make them want to," Kuhl told CNN.

It just goes to show, even infants don't like to be infantilized.

All images provided by Bombas

We can all be part of the giving movement

True

We all know that small acts of kindness can turn into something big, but does that apply to something as small as a pair of socks?

Yes, it turns out. More than you might think.

A fresh pair of socks is a simple comfort easily taken for granted for most, but for individuals experiencing homelessness—they are a rare commodity. Currently, more than 500,000 people in the U.S. are experiencing homelessness on any given night. Being unstably housed—whether that’s couch surfing, living on the streets, or somewhere in between—often means rarely taking your shoes off, walking for most if not all of the day, and having little access to laundry facilities. And since shelters are not able to provide pre-worn socks due to hygienic reasons, that very basic need is still not met, even if some help is provided. That’s why socks are the #1 most requested clothing item in shelters.

homelessness, bombasSocks are a simple comfort not everyone has access to

When the founders of Bombas, Dave Heath and Randy Goldberg, discovered this problem, they decided to be part of the solution. Using a One Purchased = One Donated business model, Bombas helps provide not only durable, high-quality socks, but also t-shirts and underwear (the top three most requested clothing items in shelters) to those in need nationwide. These meticulously designed donation products include added features intended to offer comfort, quality, and dignity to those experiencing homelessness.

Over the years, Bombas' mission has grown into an enormous movement, with more than 75 million items donated to date and a focus on providing support and visibility to the organizations and people that empower these donations. These are the incredible individuals who are doing the hard work to support those experiencing —or at risk of—homelessness in their communities every day.

Folks like Shirley Raines, creator of Beauty 2 The Streetz. Every Saturday, Raines and her team help those experiencing homelessness on Skid Row in Los Angeles “feel human” with free makeovers, haircuts, food, gift bags and (thanks to Bombas) fresh socks. 500 pairs, every week.

beauty 2 the streetz, skid row laRaines is out there helping people feel their beautiful best

Or Director of Step Forward David Pinson in Cincinnati, Ohio, who offers Bombas donations to those trying to recover from addiction. Launched in 2009, the Step Forward program encourages participation in community walking/running events in order to build confidence and discipline—two major keys to successful rehabilitation. For each marathon, runners are outfitted with special shirts, shoes—and yes, socks—to help make their goals more achievable.

step forward, helping homelessness, homeless non profitsRunning helps instill a sense of confidence and discipline—two key components of successful recovery

Help even reaches the Front Street Clinic of Juneau, Alaska, where Casey Ploof, APRN, and David Norris, RN give out free healthcare to those experiencing homelessness. Because it rains nearly 200 days a year there, it can be very common for people to get trench foot—a very serious condition that, when left untreated, can require amputation. Casey and Dave can help treat trench foot, but without fresh, clean socks, the condition returns. Luckily, their supply is abundant thanks to Bombas. As Casey shared, “people will walk across town and then walk from the valley just to come here to get more socks.”

step forward clinic, step forward alaska, homelessness alaskaWelcome to wild, beautiful and wet Alaska!

The Bombas Impact Report provides details on Bombas’s mission and is full of similar inspiring stories that show how the biggest acts of kindness can come from even the smallest packages. Since its inception in 2013, the company has built a network of over 3,500 Giving Partners in all 50 states, including shelters, nonprofits and community organizations dedicated to supporting our neighbors who are experiencing- or at risk- of homelessness.

Their success has proven that, yes, a simple pair of socks can be a helping hand, an important conversation starter and a link to humanity.

You can also be a part of the solution. Learn more and find the complete Bombas Impact Report by clicking here.

via UNSW

This article originally appeared on 07.10.21


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