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Sep 26, 2008

What's the first word Japanese babies learn to speak?

Cute Japanese baby

NTT's Communication Science Laboratories have compiled a list of the top 50 most common first words in Japanese spoken by babies and announced them at a meeting of the Japanese Psychological Association in Sapporo that started on Friday.

Researchers drew their findings from Baby's Growth Diary, a user-generated community site where new parents can write a journal of their experiences. Data was taken from 398 infants aged 10 months to 3 years, between April 2007 and February this year.

Their results showed that "manma" (food) was the first word to be spoken, usually around the age of 15 and a half months, with words like banana (19th), tea (25th) and milk (38th) coming in later on.

At number 4 was "mama", with "papa" coming in 8th, "jiiji" (grandfather) 24th, and "baaba" (grandmother) 37th.

Among the top 50 words, there were five times more nouns than verbs. In English-speaking countries, this ratio is closer to 12:1.

"English-speaking parents teach their children the names of things; in Asia, they tend to stress emotions and feelings," explained researcher Tetsuo Kobayashi.

via Mainichi Japan

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