A TedTalk Worth Checking Out: The Birth of A Word

April 6, 2016 BY Kathleen Callaghan, CCC-SLP

If you’re interested – or fascinated – in how the little people in your life learn language AND you like to geek out on science, then the TedTalk below this is for you.  MIT researcher Deb Roy amassed what he calls “the largest home video collection” in history, recording more than 90,000 hours of his child’s first years to analyze how the little guy learned language.  Caregiver feedback, location, and word choices are all researched and discussed. The two highlights (for me at least) come at around minute 5:00 when you hear a 40-second time lapse of Deb’s son learning how to say “water” and then again around minute 10:00 when Deb shows the “wordscape” of where in the house his son heard the word “water” the most.  Although the video ends up moving away from Deb’s son and into how his research can be used in broader aspects of life, it comes back to his son at the end in such a sweet way.  Overall, interesting stuff – and worth checking out!