That Viral Video Of Infant Twins Talking? Doctor Says It’s Not Special

By Carol Cavazos, CBS 11 News

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.


One Comment

  1. S Hodges says:

    What does this DR. know about what these babies are doing. Is’nt socializing the same as communication? I have communicated with many adults and could not understand a word they were saying.

  2. Deloras McMurray says:

    My Mother had my older sister and me 14 months apart. We would babble togather alot. She thought nothing of it til one day I was on the floor with my sister, I would not stop crying. My older sister told my Mother that i wanted my car seat so I could sit up. She believes it is a language. I believe the twins were talking about the sock that was missing had gone bye-bye.

  3. Deloras McMurray says:

    I was very happy after my Mother put me in the car seat. My daughter and I also had a language that no one else understood.

  4. Venancio Pacheco says:

    Why is this news?

  5. Barbara Brotherton says:

    My infant daughter would “talk” on a play phone before she learned words. She would babble in a breezy way, and then laugh gaily. She would babble in an upward ending way and the pause for a moment and then ending with a long drawn-out oooh sound.
    She wasn’t communicating with another person. She was imitating mom.

  6. Sara-Beth says:

    Dr. Dollaghan has her doctorate in communication disorders, so she knows plenty about what these babies are doing. Saying that they are socializing as opposed to conversing in an original language isn’t a bad thing. These two are making eye contact with each other, taking turns and using varying intonation. All of those are important precursors to talking and language use.

  7. Sheila says:

    My sister and I were 11 1/2 months apart. We would talk and then as if she told me to do something, I would go to get a toy for her. It seemed like specific directions to the adults looking on.

  8. me says:

    WOW — What petty people…..can’t even give credit to a baby…..I’d rather hear what these babies have to say than to what a lot of supposedly “intelligent” adults have to say. Some people are educated beyond their means and comments as seen above are indication of just that.

  9. me says:

    Didn’t you listen to the video? This Dr. was saying is that babies DO socialize with each other long before they are using “language!” She has twins of her own, she obviously knows that babies communicate with each other!!

  10. ty says:

    omg u r all being complete ….. ok here look, there r things in this world that we may never know just accept that and move on with ur life

  11. ty says:

    ok thanku

  12. Chris says:

    Just to let everybody know – I did NOT say the twins were not special. In fact, I said several times that they were darling and delightful, and that they showed a wonderful example of the ability of babies to communicate before they have words. I was very disappointed at the way that the reporter(s) decided to “report” my comments on the video – I tried to explain that this pre-language, but communicative, stage is very common in babies, and that it’s especially cool when we see it in twins. So, don’t believe everything you read. Watching babies learn to communicate, and to speak, is a joy. That’s why I study it!

  13. dora vanhouten says:

    my husband read on the computer news that one of the twins died. is this true?

Comments are closed.

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