New research shows children younger than age 1 can learn certain words. To investigate whether children under age 1 can learn words in one context and understand them in another, researchers worked with parents of 52 children who were 9 months old.
The parents used 12 board books and a set of 48 picture cards that depicted common objects such as keys, apples, fish and chairs in simple games with their children. The games were performed four times a week for up to 10 minutes a session. The goal of the games was to build on routines parents already used in the home such as naming and pointing.
After three months, the children received a test in which they were shown pairs of pictures and asked to look at one of them based on what the investigator said and accordingly children were evaluated on whether they looked at the correct picture.
Results showed children who had been through the training with their parents looked at the correct picture, while a control group of untrained children did not. The above findings call into question earlier beliefs that most children only learn words for things they are interested in or when those words are linked to certain routines, such as "bath" or "dog."
Thus in conclusion researchers say parents should be aware that there may be no "lower limit" to the age at which their children are able to learn new words and they encourage , parents to talk to their young children, even more than they already do.