London: Parents should correct toddlers on their pronunciation, as they are unable to detect that they have got it wrong until they are four years old, a new study has suggested.
   
It's known that people moderate their pronunciations if they speak wrongly based on the sounds of their voice they hear, like a musician altering the pitch of a note.
   
But, the new study by a team at the Technical University of Denmark suggested that although toddlers can easily detect how words are pronounced by others and learn to speak their first language with a native accent, they do not react to hearing their own voice in the same way adults do.
   
This, the researchers said, indicates that they may be reliant on another means of fine-tuning their speech rather than monitoring their voice themselves, reported a daily.
   
It may be that infants depend on older people like their parents to guide them -- for example by repeating back words they have said, they added.
   
For their study, published in journal Current Biology, the researchers studied a group of adults, two-year-olds and four-year-olds as they said the word "bed" repeatedly while hearing a recording of themselves saying "bad", to trick their brain into thinking they were making the wrong sound.
   
Adults and four-year-olds began trying to compensate by changing the vowel, saying something more like the word 'bid', but the two-year-olds continued pronouncing 'bed' correctly.
   
Ewen MacDonald, who led the research, explained: "If the acoustics of our speech are slightly different from what we intended, then we will adjust the way we speak to correct for these slight errors.
   
"In our study, we found that four-year-olds monitor their own speech in the same way as adults. Surprisingly, two-year-olds do not."

(Agencies)