during the first year of life, Boys “talk” more than girls, and make vowel sounds and short sounds ‘Ba’ or ‘Aga’ which, over time, are being replaced by words, phrases and complete sentences.
The finding, published this Wednesday in the journal iScience, is not surprising, although some children “talk” more than others, It was not known whether there were differences by gender. Nor do they “talk” more than they do.
The authors believe that the study has interesting implications for the evolutionary foundations of language.
“The common belief is that females have a small but perceptible advantage over males in language, but in the first year of life they have shownproduce more speech-like sounds compared to them,” explains Kimbrough Oller of the University of Memphis (Tennessee).
However, boys’ rapidity in language development does not last long, because “Girls outpace and outpace boys by the end of second year”Oller explains.
Oller and his colleagues weren’t interested in studying gender differences. Their goal was to look at how language emerges and develops in childhood, but in 2020 they conducted a study in which they found that boys begin to ‘talk’ earlier than girls.
This study was done with a few babies but now, by repeating it three years later with a larger number of babies, they have confirmed their findings.
checked with over 450,000 hours of recording all day 5,899 children Which were automatically analyzed for the infants’ expressions over the first two years of life and the words used by adult caregivers during that time.
“This is the largest sample size of all the studies on language development that we know of,” says Oller.
An evolutionary advantage?
In general, the data shows that children outnumber boys. 10% more phrases during the first year than girls And that, in the second year, the opposite happened: Girls produced 7% more voices than boys.
These differences were observed despite the fact that the number of words spoken by adults caring for children was higher for girls than for boys in both years.
Researchers suggest that baby boys may vocalize earlier because they are more active in general, but the data do not support this, because Raised voice in boys disappears by 16 monthsWhile your increased level of physical activity is not.
But the findings may fit with an evolutionary theory that babies make sounds very early on to express their well-being and improve your chances of survivalOller suggests.
“We believe that This may be because babies are more vulnerable to dying in their first year Compared to girls, and since there are many more deaths among children under one year of age, they may be under particularly high selection pressure to produce vocal signals of welfare.”
In the second year of life, when mortality rates drop dramatically across the board, Oller says, “the pressure on particular fitness signals is less for both boys and girls.”
(translate to tag) boys