LiveScience brings together two fascinating studies on motherese--the swooping, exagerated way that mothers speak to their babies. In the first study, scientists played different examples of English baby-talk to a group of non-literate, hunter-horticulturalists in Ecuador who speak Shuar. The Shuar-speakers could tell what the English mothers intended over 70% of the time. But baby-talk isn't just human. It turns out that rhesus monkey mothers also speak to their babies with exagerated, musical pitch.
Young babies don't do a lot, but every year we discover there is a lot more going on inside than you can tell. The latest news is that four-month-olds already have an idea about the shape of a word. EEG measurement showed that infants this young recognize patterns of word stress that are specific to language, and they are better at recognizing words from their own language. Previously, only 6 to 12-month-olds had been shown to have knowledge about their language. Current Biology.