Fascinating new podcast unlocks the secrets of baby language

The MARCS Institute for Brain, Behaviour and Development at Western Sydney University, in partnership with Babyology, have launched an exciting new podcast series, BabyLab (opens in a new window), designed to help Australian parents understand how babies learn to communicate.

Hosted by Jamila Rizvi, the eight-part series discusses ground-breaking research from Western Sydney University experts in psychology, linguistics, speech and language, and explores topics such as baby talk, bilingualism, learning to read, first words and play.

Director of the MARCS Institute at Western Sydney University, Professor Kate Stevens, says the BabyLab podcast series is an exciting new initiative and a great example of University research being translated and delivered to a broad audience to help make a tangible difference in the world.

“The MARCS BabyLab has been conducting world-class research into language acquisition, speech perception, bilingualism and reading since 1999,” says Professor Stevens.

“As one of the leading infant communication research centres in Australia, we are delighted to showcase our research and world-renowned experts through our new BabyLab podcast series, which has been designed to unlock some of the science behind how babies communicate.

“We pride ourselves on evidence-based research, and we are excited to share our findings with parents as we talk about the wonder and science behind the rapid development of the baby brain.”

The BabyLab podcast series features eight episodes released weekly, and stars various MARCS BabyLab researchers.

Episode One (28/02) – The secrets behind Baby Talk: (opens in a new window) Is talking to your baby like that really a good idea?
Starring:  
Dr. Marina Kalashnikova
Professor Denis Burnham
Dr. Christa Lam-Cassettari

Episode Two (04/03) – The origins of language: (opens in a new window) Where does a baby’s first words come from and what can it tell us about the evolution of human language itself?
Starring:
Professor Denis Burnham
Dr. Karen Mattock
Dr. Marina Kalashnikova
Dr. Liquan Liu

Episode Three (11/03) – Raising a bilingual baby: (opens in a new window) Busting the myths behind raising a bilingual baby – will it confuse them or cause speech delays? Is bilingualism the language of the future?
Starring:
Dr. Liquan Liu
Dr. Karen Mattock
Dr. Mark Antoniou

Episode Four (18/03) – The benefits of bilingualism: (opens in a new window) What are the effects on the brain and does bilingualism make your baby smarter?
Starring:
Dr. Liquan Liu
Dr. Karen Mattock
Dr Mark Antoniou
Professor Cathi Best

Episode Five (25/03) – Learning to read: (opens in a new window) What is the right age to start teaching your child to read? How can we diagnose dyslexia earlier than ever?
Starring:
Dr. Marina Kalashnikova
Professor Denis Burnham
Dr. Christa Lam-Cassettari
Associate Professor Chwee Beng Lee (opens in a new window)

Episode Six (01/04) – The parent factor: (opens in a new window) How parents can influence a baby’s development (and why more new dads should be taking time off work).
Starring:
Dr. Christa Lam-Cassettari
Dr. Karen Mattock

Episode Seven (08/04) – The importance of play: (opens in a new window) How pretend plays a role in language and empathy learning.
Starring:
Dr. Karen Mattock
Dr Pratyusha Senagavarapu (opens in a new window)

Episode Eight (18/04) – Your questions answered: A chance for parents to send their questions in and have them answered by the experts.

The MARCS Institute has also recently opened its third BabyLab centre, with a new location at the Western Sydney University’s Westmead Campus, centrally located within the heart of the Westmead health and medical precinct.

Dr Christa Lam-Cassettari, Acting Leader of the MARCS BabyLab and Researcher in Infant Studies at Western Sydney University, says she and her team conduct research with infants and children that focuses on speech perception and production, literacy, hearing loss and social-emotional development.

“Our newest BabyLab research centre in Westmead offers a great opportunity for our research team to continue to collaborate with the Western Sydney community,” said Dr Lam-Cassettari.

“We’re always looking to work with local health services, early learning centres, schools, community groups and local families on research projects in order to build further awareness around the development of reading, bilingualism, baby talk and first words.”

The BabyLab podcast series (opens in a new window) is available now, and can be downloaded on a range of Podcast platforms including iTunes (opens in a new window) and Google Play.

For more information about the MARCS BabyLab at Western Sydney University, visit www.westernsydney.edu.au/babylab (opens in a new window).

For more information, contact MARCS Institute Media and Communications Officer, Danielle Aiken, on (02)9772 6695 / 0417904348  /d.aiken@westernsydney.edu.au 

ENDS

28 February 2019