Toddlers love to talk and they learn an amazing number of new words every day. Yet deciphering the words of two to three-year olds may be tricky. So it is easy to think that toddlers lack a basic idea of how to string a sentence together.
But toddlers’ babbling and chattering may be more advanced than many parents realise, Cristina Dye studied 50 French-speaking two to three-year-olds. Tens of thousands utterances were captured and they analysis revealed that they are using more complex sentences earlier than expected.
By using advanced technology and sensitive microphones, the precise sounds were captured as well as the context in which the toddlers said something. The toddlers were using little words earlier than previously thought. These words from the skeleton of a sentence, such as, a, an, can, and is. Detecting these little words was not easy since they merely consisted of puff of airs. The toddlers made a small sound, a soft breath, or a pause, at exactly the place that a grammatical word would normally be used.
The little sounds were always used in the correct place in the sentence and this suggests that toddlers have grammatical knowledge. So try to listen carefully and you might notice these little sounds placed in the perfect place in your toddler’s sentences. Dye says, “I believe we should give toddlers more credit; they’re much more amazing than we realised.” Could not agree more!