From birth infants cry, coo, then begin to babble, but these sounds the baby is making (as explained
earlier as reflexive, non-reflexive and vegetative sounds) do not necessarily imply that the baby is trying to communicate
an actual message. Regardless, this doesn't mean that when the infant starts babbling dadada, babuba or even mama, that the
parent should just ignore it as babble. On the contrary, it has been shown that if an adult responds to a baby's cooing and
babbling with vocalizations of her own, even a very young baby will begin to produce utterances that are more speech-like.
(Berko Gleason, J., 2005)
Harding (1983) notes that if a young baby cries, a mother may rush to the baby and describe it as
a cry to be changed for example. This young infant is not crying out of the desire to relay any particular message, but merely
out of distress or discomfort. What Harding says however, by treating the cry as relaying a message, this can help to differentiate
between other signals as distributed by the infant such as differentiating amongst various cries, and can then possibly influence
the baby's recognition of the efects his vocalizations and behaviours have on others.
Additionally, it is good to note that mother's have the founding goal of having a conversation with
their child regardless of whether the child can understand language. This alone can influence the development of language.
Here is an example given by Snow (1977)..
"oh what a nice little smile
There. There's a nice little
"What a nice little wind as well!"
Here in this example, the mother is responding to the infants sounds, letting the child take a turn
as if the child understands the concept of turn taking and language rules. She is treating every vocalization as a turn in
the conversation. What Snow argues is that mothers continually adjust what they accept as part of a concersation and adjust
their responses to only include higher and higher quality vocalizations. Ex: one day a burp, then a coo, then babble, then
vocalization with a gesture, and so on.
This process resembles scaffolding as Lev Vygotzky would
say. The mother is continually uping the anti to produce the desired responses and behaviours.
These interactions with the mother or another caregiver can teach a baby the important skills for
developing intentional communication. Certain guidelines can be helpful in determining whether a baby is grasping intentional