Good Question: Is Baby Talk Real Conversation?

By Jason DeRusha, WCCO-TV

There’s something amazing about watching 18-month-old twins Sam and Ren, leaning against the fridge and apparently swapping stories. More than 2 million of us have watched it on YouTube. But is baby talk a real conversation?

“I think it’s crazy how kids can communicate with each other at such a young age,” said Mary Brown, a pregnant mother of two with a lot of baby talk experience. “No one knows exactly what they’re trying to say.”

“And it’s hilarious!” laughed Dr. Marie Vu, at HealthEast Grand Avenue Clinic in St. Paul.

Is it real talk?

“I believe it’s just babble,” she said. “It’s clear they’re enjoying themselves, really just exploring expressive language.”

Researchers think baby talk is really just babies copying the way we speak. The idea is that the mimicking helps make the brain connections that ultimately lead to speech.

“Certain babies form associations with sounds that mean something to them,” said Vu, like when a baby says “ba” and means “bottle.”

But Vu added, “I don’t know how another baby would know that.”

In very rare cases, twins can develop a shared language. But typically, those twins have to be isolated from adults.

And just because these twins take turns, and have a rhythm that looks like they’re sharing a story, that’s considered interaction babbling.

“You can see it as early as 6 months, moving up to 9 months. Talk to a baby in normal voice, the baby will coo or babble back,” said Vu.

In other words, if you’re looking for a translation of what Sam and Ren were sharing, Vu says “I think you’d be really hard pressed.”

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  • Passolt

    I have to poop

  • Gene Ingalls


  • Jon

    All I know is it’s cute.

  • dalores (Fansler-Twin) Haroldsonson

    I would like to assure you, that twins do have their own language.. I have always told people how my identical twin sister and I were able to talk to each other, yes really understand each other. as young as your segment on T.V. with the 18 month old twins. There is much misunderstanding…regarding identical tiwins. By the way…we were not isolated. That has NOTHING to do with the fact that we could talk between us. I always said: “we had our own language, and I always wondered why others didn’t understand US.. as we did?” .I can still remember, in our baby swing seats looking/talking to each other. ..we must have been around a year old. (I am 82 years old now). Another twin colloquiaism…is the word “US” As an identical twin”’US meant my twin and I. I found I could only use the word …us…as it referred to US… my twin and I… ONLY. There is much misunderstanding regarding identical twins…to this day

    • Really?

      You remember sitting in your baby swing, at 1 year of age? Really? All of your credibility is now gone.

      • Trish Doran

        I know of others that remember things from a year old and they are verifiable happenings.

        • Renee

          I am 38 and can remember a things from when I was 18 months.

  • Common Sense up North

    My twins used to do that all the time. I swear they were saying, “hey Mike, Mom’s got her hands in dishwater. You go that way and I’ll go this way and see what we can get into before she grabs us.”
    They understood each other. Just because WE don’t understand them it doesn’t mean they don’t.

  • Andy

    Probably acting out arguments the parents have, lol.

  • Common Sense up North

    They still sense when the other one isn’t having a good day. They know when the other one isn’t feeling good. They are almost 30 and hundreds of miles apart and they still “know.”

  • Judi

    Of course it is real. Do you think it is fake? Honestly, why do you have to have an “expert’s” opinion on something that is so obvious?????????Babies learn to communicate in our language by experimenting with sounds. They have the capacity to speak whatever language is spoken to them. This “babbling” is the beginning of that language. If a baby crawls, is that not getting from one place to another? It is a preface to walking. Please don’t ask such silly questions,

  • Proud Parent

    Went to a friend’s backyard BBQ with our 9-month old daughter. Friend’s 2-year old son was by our daughter’s stroller having a conversation in “baby talk” with her. He came over to us and said that she had asked for a particular toy in the travel case we had. This 2-year old would have had absolutely no clue what he had in the travel case.

    We took out the toy and brought it over to her. She did the typical infant hands and feet flying around and jumping in the seat when she saw the toy. Shortly afterward the son came by us again and said – “ya, that was the one she wanted”

    For more than 25 years now I’ve been convinced kids/infants have a communication ability that they lose as they take on “adult” language. They can, and do, understand each other at these ages.

  • carmen

    I HAVE IDENTIAL TWIN SONS. i dissagree that it,s only babble talk. When my sons were infant, & toddlers i remember alote of times when they were babbeling & starting to say words & small talk, i believe they do communicate & have their own language. at @ two years old they could count to twenty ,singing 1 to 20 & sing their alphabets wi th mom. One day my one twin came up to me & said [ mom , ryan has a owie ear. ] I was so suprised . I kept thinking @ it, so i brought them to the doctors. would you believe he had an ear infection?? I told the doctor what happened he laughed & said he agreed with me. they may babble but they do talk to each other & have their own communication. He may have felt his twins pain. I nteresting huh? There 28 yr,s now.

  • rara

    Yes it is a real language, they are talking about how the one kid is missing a sock and put it in the freezer and mom is going to be mad.

  • Kelly

    I have 18 month old twin sons and yes they talk to each other. I don’t have to understand what they are saying. They seem to have their own understanding with each other.

  • Becky

    Very funny. I like the leaked response:

  • Do babies have their own language? | Us Girls..Our Views

    […] is baby talk a real conversation? Good Question. Do you believe babies have their own language and can understand each […]

  • Rodney

    The mini me Jason was hilarious!!!

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