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Stop swearing immediately! Research from a recent study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Journal, indicates that babies are able to understand basic words from as early as 6 months. This is twice as early as previously thought.
Although many babies won’t start to understand the meaning of speech until their first birthday, it seems that babies aged between 6-9 months are able to comprehend ‘elements of their own native language’ at this age.
This conclusion was reached after 33 6-9 month old babies were placed in controlled conditions. They were shown 2 images on a screen and their eye movements were tracked when parents asked questions such as ‘Where is the apple?’. The research showed that 26 of the 33 babies would move their eyes and rest them on the correct image. They were also able to identify other foods as well as body parts. It is thought to be unlikely that such a large number of the babies selected the correct symbol by chance.
The babies were tested alongside 50 babies aged between 10 and 20 months. There was not much improvement on these results until the babies reached 14 months when understanding improves dramatically.
So with this in mind, it’s a great idea to talk to your child as much as possible. He or she may not be able to respond fully, but it seems that they’ll be able to understand a small amount of what you’re trying to say and will then build on what they’ve already learned during their toddler and preschool years.