Do you know how many words a child speaks on a normal day?
Or how many words a child hears on a normal day?
Researchers previously estimated that the number of words that a child hears per day ranges from 5,000 to 10,000 words. We’d like to test if that’s true and what the role of children’s linguistic environments is for their language development.
To study how children learn to speak, we use a new method — an audio-recording system called LENA. This system consists of small recording devices that children wear in their clothes for a day. The recorder weighs about 2 ounces (60 grams) and documents everything that the child hears and says for up to 16 hours. We then use an alogirthm to estimate how many words the child has spoken and heard over the course of a day. Pretty cool, no?
Our work with LENA is supported by the Wellcome Trust with a Seed Award in Science to Dr von Stumm. Furthermore, we collaborate with the world-renowned Twin Early Development Study that has pioneered research on childhood development since more than 20 years.
Do you think you might be interested in participating in this research? Do you have a child that is between 24 and 48 months old? Do you speak English at home? We’d love to hear from you.