How important is child-directed speech?Dr. Marisa Casillas (Language Development Department, MPI) has been studying how children learn language in two indigenous farming communities, one in Mexico and one in Papua New Guinea. In both communities, familie

How important is child-directed speech? Dr. Marisa Casillas (Language Development Department, MPI) has been studying how children learn language in two indigenous farming communities, one in Mexico and one in Papua New Guinea. In both communities, families farm their own food and tend to live together in clusters very far away from any city. Children in both places grow up hearing quite a lot of talk from their siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents—not just from their parents! Dr. Casillas and colleagues have been using special recorders to estimate how much speech children hear during an average day at home. They found out that children aren’t directly talked to very often (3–3.5 minutes per hour). But, despite this, children in both places reach milestones like babbling, first words, and first sentences around the same age as children in the Netherlands. Children really are amazing language learners! https://www.mpi.nl/news/tseltal-children-learn-language-minimal-child-directed-speech