A new research, published in Friday's edition of the journal Science, shows that babies start really jabbering after they've mastered enough easy words to tackle more of the harder ones. After that, it's essentially a snowball effect.
That explanation is far simpler than scientists' assumptions that some special brain mechanisms must click to trigger the word boom. Instead, University of Iowa psychology professor Bob McMurray contends that what astonishes parents is actually the fairly guaranteed outcome of a lot of under-the-radar work by tots as they start their journey to learn 60,000 words by adulthood. He thinks simply talking and reading to a child a lot is the key.
Prof. McMurray found that as long as toddlers are working to decipher many words at once, that parallel learning, and they're being exposed to more difficult words than easy ones, the word spurt is guaranteed.