The ability of toddlers to learn words increases with age and a limit exists as to how many words they can learn each day, claims a new research.
The findings at University of Missouri could help parents enhance their children's vocabularies and assist speech-language professionals in developing and refining interventions to help children with language delays.
Researcher Judith Goodman said that they found that babies' abilities to accurately guess the meaning of new words increases between 18 and 30 months of age, and by 24 to 36 months, toddlers are able to accurately guess the meanings of new words at a significantly higher level.
Goodman added that even from the time children mature from 18 to 30 months of age, the cues toddlers use to learn new words change.
According to Goodman, the toddlers' ability to infer a word's meaning from linguistic context, such as figuring out that a 'kiwi' must be a food item when they hear, 'Sammy eats the kiwi,' also improved as the children aged.
Goodman continued that using social cues, such as eye gaze, became less effective as the children matured and by 36 months of age, children were less likely to assume a word referred to the particular object a speaker was looking at than younger children were.
Goodman's research findings can help speech therapists and parents broaden toddlers' vocabularies.
Goodman suggested that when parents are working with young children who are learning language, it's important to talk to them all the time and label everything in their environments.
The study is published in the American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology.