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Babbling (also called baby talk or twaddling) is a stage in child development and a state in language acquisition, during which an infant appears to be experimenting with uttering sounds of language, but not yet producing any recognizable words. (Crucially, the larynx or voicebox, originally high in the throat to let the baby breathe while swallowing, descends during the first year of life, allowing a pharynx to develop and all the sounds of human speech to be formed.) Babbling begins at approximately 5 to 7 months of age, when a baby’s noises begin to sound like phonemes. Infants begin to produce recognizable words usually around 12 months, though babbling may continue for some time afterward.
Types of babbling:
There are two types of babbling. Most people are familiar with the characteristic sounds made during babbling, namely reduplicative and variegated babbling. The former consists of repeated syllables, such as /ba/ e.g. “Ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba”, or /goo/ e.g. “goo-goo” whereas variegated babbling consists of a mix of syllables, e.g. “ka-da-bu-ba-mi-doy-doy-doy”.
The consonants that babbling infants produce tend to be any of the following : /p, b, t, m, d, n, k, ɡ, s, h, w, j/. The following consonants tend to be infrequently produced during phonological development : /f, v, θ, ð, ʃ, tʃ, dʒ, l, r, ŋ/. The complex nature of sounds that developing children produce make them difficult to categorize, but the above rules tend to hold true regardless of the language to which children are exposed.