DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – When a video of two twin infants who appeared to be communicating through blubbering baby-speak surfaced on YouTube this week, it quickly racked up 2 million views and probably ate up that many minutes of productivity at workplaces.
Researchers in the past gave this type of twin speak a name, “idioglossia.” Idio means unique. Glossia means language.
But Dr. Christine Dollaghan, a speech expert with the University of Texas at Dallas Callier Center, said these toddlers aren’t doing anything unique.
“What the twins are doing in this video is what a lot of children that age do,” Dollaghan said.
Dollaghan, who had twins of her own, said what the twins are saying in the video doesn’t even come close to meeting the scientific criteria for the definition of a true language.
What these babies are really doing is socializing, she said.
“Well, in a twin pair you’ve got that other twin baby there all the time. So there’s a lot of social play, sound making and laughing with one another. It’s a very common phenomenon,” Dollaghan said.
But Alison Hansard, who has 3-year-old fraternal twins, thinks twins are definitely communicating.
“I think there’s some type of conversation. I don’t know that it’s an intelligent conversation, that you and I might have but I think there’s definitely something. Even if it’s only that they believe they’re having a conversation,” Hansard said.
Researchers said twins are usually born premature and have developmental delays, which includes speech. And, what some mistake for a strange new language is actually one twin mirroring the other twin’s disordered speech.
Hansard said one of her twins is a bit more difficult to understand than the other and started to speak for him.
“If they were together, Ford would speak for Jake. He would answer questions for him or just jump in. And so, I think at that point, Jake would just kind of look at us and smile and say ‘yup, that’s right,’” Hansard said.
Though new research suggests there is no secret language between twins, some will always think even if nobody understands them, they understand each other.