The New “Baby’s First Word”

TED talks, I tell ya. Have you guys gotten in on these things yet? I mean, I am not an extremely scientific person, so when I first saw the all-caps title “TED,” it kind of freaked me out, like is this about the periodic table of elements or something? I managed to never have to memorize that in high school, or even really talk about it, but before you think I am dumb, I can totally say the alphabet backwards, NBD.

But when I overcame my fears (like Eleanor Roosevelt always taught me!), I was taken aback by the intelligence, interest, and intrigue in every single TED talk I have ever witnessed. And you just have to trust a description in which someone can use three words beginning with the letter “i.”

Deb Roy, an Associate Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, initiated, studied, and delivered a TED talk report on a little three year project concerning the study of the language development of his young son. Along with his wife Rupal Patel, Roy created an unusual video recording system in his home to capture every single moment in three years of their lives, for the most part. The cameras rolled for eight to ten hours a day, every single day for three years, resulting in about 90,000 hours of recorded material. Roy was hoping to produce a sped-up audio version of language acquisition and development similar to visual videos of flowers blooming in high speed motion. The research dedicated to eventually discovering almost exactly how children develop language is impressive, and just mind-boggling, to be honest.

The first example Roy provides in his TED talk of his son’s language acquisition is the transition from the word “gaga” to his son’s able to pronounce and communicate the word “water.” You will have to watch and listen to be as blown away as I was, because my words could never do it justice.

What do you guys think? I found myself intrigued at the beginning of Roy’s talk when he prompted the audience with questions about remembering every moment of your life–I got to thinking, would I actually want to remember every moment of my life? As quite the sentimental young woman, I already feel like I remember too many moments. But like rewatching your favorite movie, wouldn’t it be pretty neat to go back and relive the moments you most want to relive? The first time your husband told you he loved you? Your child’s first word? That first time your mom talked to you like a friend, and not a parent?

Life is beautiful, you guys. I feel inspired today.

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