The fourth part of this series is about mimicking.
Babies mimic from a very young age but you may not become aware of this until you recognise a particular sound or facial expression.
If you have ever tried sticking your tongue out at a newborn baby, you may have been surprised to see a tongue come back at you! Try other facial expressions and see if your little one attempts to try these as well.
This means that there isn’t a stage when babies start to mimic; it starts from birth and carries on.
Adults will mimic even if they don’t mean to. Put an adult from the South into the North or from the West to the East and gradually the accent will change. This is partly due to mimicking.
I have an Aunt from the UK (very posh lady) who moved to Arizona and refused to change her accent. It didn’t work!!!
I wasn’t sure whether to mention this or not but, obviously, have decided to go with mentioning.
Babies and children want to be like grown-ups. The only way they have to do this is to copy the adults around them. It is, in my opinion, a tragedy to hear very young children using abusive language and see them use unpleasant gestures. This isn’t the child’s fault but that of the adults around them. It does nothing to help produce well adjusted, beautiful people with the ability to use a rich and varied language.
Be a good role model!
There, I said it!
If you listen to the way a baby babbles you can get a good idea of the way the adults closest to them speak. A loud baby will usually come from a loud environment where people shout over each other. A baby babbling in monotone will have more than likely mimicked this from the adults around him.
It is wonderful to hear babble with expression, rhythm and intonation. This is what is heard and what baby is trying to mimic. What a great start to develop great language knowledge.
Parents and carers have a huge responsibility in regards to helping the children in their language development.
I think the message, in short, is
Watch what you say and how you say it.
It would really interesting to hear your opinions on this. Please write in the comment box below and I’ll get back to you.
Part Five is on its way