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Singing is crucial to children's language development: 'Children's songs make a difference in the basics' |  Science and the planet

Singing is crucial to children’s language development: ‘Children’s songs make a difference in the basics’ | Science and the planet

Singing words contributes to the development of language and its linguistic foundation in children. This is evidenced by a study conducted by the University of Cambridge and recently published in the famous scientific journal Nature, and reported by the Dutch newspaper AM. Researchers studied the brain activity of 50 children ages 4, 7, and 11 months while they watched a video of a teacher singing eighteen nursery rhymes.

Research shows that babies learn language in their first months of life based on rhythmic information such as high and low tones. “So parents should talk and sing to their children as much as possible, like nursery rhymes or baby songs, because that will make a difference in language outcomes,” says neuroscientist Usha Goswami.

It was previously thought that children learned language primarily by recognizing different letter sounds and then putting them together. However, babies only start learning this phonetic information from 7 months of age, and according to researchers, this is too late and too slow to provide a good linguistic foundation.

Rhythmic speech helps children learn language faster and better by emphasizing word boundaries. “Babies can use rhythmic information and then add phonetic information later,” Goswami says. “For example, they can learn that the rhythm pattern of words is often strong at first and then weak, as in.”dadDad “or”MondayMother, with emphasis on the first syllable.

According to the neuroscientist, they can use this rhythm pattern to guess where one word ends and another begins. Therefore, rhythm and tone are the “invisible glue of good language development.”

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In addition, the researchers said that dyslexia and language developmental disorders are also likely to be related to rhythm rather than the processing of phonological information.

“Further research on children at risk for language learning disorders due to genetic factors would be of great value,” the study stated.


That children respond strongly to rhythm and music is also evident from research conducted by the University of Amsterdam and the Hungarian HUN-REN Research Center for Natural Sciences. These scientists recently concluded that babies perceive the rhythm of music soon after they are born.

In an experiment conducted on 27 newborns, the babies’ brain wave measurements were examined while they slept and heard the heartbeats through headphones. The results showed that the children heard the beat when the time period between beats was always the same. When the researchers played the same pattern at irregular intervals, the children did not feel the rhythm.

“This crucial difference confirms that the ability to hear rhythm is innate and not just the result of learned sound sequences,” says one of the Hungarian researchers, István Winkler. “Our findings suggest that it is a specific skill in newborns and highlight the importance of nursery rhymes and nursery rhymes for young children’s auditory development.”