Body processes

Babbling – Function, Task & Diseases


Babbling is the precursor to speaking. After the first form of communication, crying, the baby learns to string vowels and consonants together. This creates babble that adults find cute and is essential to forming words.

What is the babble?

Regardless of whether a baby is hungry , thirsty , has full diapers or longs for closeness, initially it only communicates by crying. Only with increasing social, emotional and mental development does the baby learn to use words and descriptions of everything he sees, hears, feels and thinks.

Long before the first word is spoken , a baby has learned the rules of speech and how to use the language just like an adult. Language is linked to hearing . The child first learns by listening how words sound and later how sentences are structured.

Language comprehension is already present in the womb. The baby already adjusts to the sound of the mother’s voice and her heartbeat .

At first, the baby makes sounds with his tongue , lips , palate , and first teeth . After the first “oohs” and “aahs” in the babbling phase, the babbling begins.

The baby’s first spoken word can be heard from about the fourth month and is an event for all family members. But until then, it has to go through important language development stages. By the age of two at the latest, they should be able to speak clearly.

Function & task

The child’s communication begins with screaming and crying . Soon the baby differentiates between different pitches. This ranges from a slight whimper to a loud scream. Over time, it develops an extensive repertoire of different sounds: it coos, sighs, chuckles and giggles.From about the fourth week, it can already distinguish between similar-sounding syllables such as “la” and “ma”. From the fourth month, it begins to babble, linking consonants and vowels together. When babbling, the baby repeats the connected vowels and consonants several times in a row.

The child tries to imitate the language that surrounds it. Babbling is therefore not the same for all babies, but sounds different depending on nationality and language.

During these “language exercises” the infant trains many muscles and learns to refine movements, from which its language ultimately develops. Over time, it becomes more and more in control of its larynx muscles, which has an impact on the differentiated sound formation.

For the child itself, learning to speak is a great journey of discovery. The more they are encouraged by their environment, the more they want to practice. After the vowels, the baby begins to form silvers and pronounces the first nasal consonants (B, D, T, P).

The baby wants to express something and mainly uses the tone of voice for this. Nor is it in the protolanguage, a prototype of the actual language. In this phase, language is like a playground. For fun, the baby simply tries out all the sounds. If it gets a lot of encouragement, it comes into contact with its environment more often. Words and the rhythm of speech develop from this.

Language is collective action. It is therefore important for healthy language development that parents respond to their baby’s voice exercises as often as possible. The way you speak has a decisive influence on your child’s language development.

Diseases & Ailments

When speaking, the nerve cells in the language center of the brain are connected. Like a computer network, it is becoming more and more powerful. In order to stimulate the formation of neural connections, parents should talk to their children all day if possible. Above all, they should repeat, confirm and offer new words to what their baby says. If this crucial step in language development is impeded or does not take place at all, a language disorder can result.There are language early starters and late bloomers, so parents shouldn’t panic if they think there’s a delay. Most of the time they are not a cause for concern. Language development lags behind in many children only because they are busy with other learning tasks.

A speech development disorder is only spoken of when the child does not react to noises or does not make contact with the parents in the first year of life. If you remain silent even though the babbling phase should have started, a doctor’s visit is advisable. This phase is essential for normal language development.

If, even at the age of one year, the child cannot understand simple commands and cannot speak the first words if there are no attempts at imitation, there is usually a language development disorder. There are many reasons for this. On the one hand, genetic reasons come into consideration, but there can also be organic and neurological causes.

Speech development disorders occur, for example, in connection with hearing impairment , deafness or a mental disability . Psychological limitations can also inhibit language development.

However, the reason can also be the lack of linguistic stimulation. The adults therefore have to talk to their child again and again, this is the only way to develop a love of language and it has the opportunity to imitate, because the baby needs incentives to speak.

A language development disorder can be treated by speech therapists. In a playful way, the speech therapist tries to arouse the child’s joy in speaking. Targeted exercises improve listening, concentration , mouth motor skills and learning ability .

If a language development disorder has been diagnosed, the child does not have to struggle with it all his life. Speech therapy treatments are now so mature that after a certain time there is no longer a deficit.

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Hello! I am Lisa Newlon, and I am a medical writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience in the healthcare industry. I have a Master’s degree in Medicine, and my deep understanding of medical terminology, practices, and procedures has made me a trusted source of information in the medical world.