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Twin Studies

Language Development

Language Development of Twins vs. singletons


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Twin studies
  • The language development of infants born single or as twins seems to show a number of differences. Compared to single born infants, the language development of twins has proven to be delayed in many studies
  • Some studies state that twin language development eventually catches up. However, the main factor effecting the language of twins is the language environment which they exist in. Studies show that the type of speech used by mothers of twins is different the the language used by mothers of single babies.
  •  The mothers of single infants tend to be more sensitive and responsive to their infant’s cues in communicative interactions, they  appear to provide an superior language learning environment for their infants, because they focus on the infant’s experience rather than trying to control or direct interactions
  • Mothers of twins tend to exhibit greater amounts of  mother-focused styles of interaction, which are marked by greater use of directive speech and where there is an attempt by the mother to control the direction of the interaction, These types of interactions effect language development negatively.

  • The mothers of twins was less infant-focused, less responsive to infant nonvocal cues, and ascribed less agency to the infant than the speech of mothers of single infants. Mothers of twins also ask their infants fewer questions, and they speak more in declarative speech


  •  The differences observed between a mother with a single infant and a mother with twins can be simply explained by the use of ‘motherese’ speech by mothers., therefore, a language learning environment for twin infants differs from that experienced by single infants.


  • Mothers of  twin infants who have not yet aquired language share a number of speech characteristics with stressed and depressed mothers, however their speech style cannot be explained simply by stress or depression alone.


  • Most likely, lack of time to practise  ‘motherese’, and less time available for a mother of twin infants to become familiar with their infant’s interactive behaviour, probably because the mothers’ attention was always divided between two infants