It has special implications for me because I'm a pronunciation teacher. I'm always interested in how speech and language develops in L1 and L2 (first languages and second languages). Dr. Roy is an MIT researcher who studied his child's first words and created 3-D "wordscapes" illustrating the connection between the evolution of his speech and his environment. Dr. Roy discovered there is a tight feedback loop and a kind of scaffolding that takes place just before his son formed each of his new words coherently.
What does this mean for pronunciation teachers? Well, it matches what I've learned teaching student after student in one2one courses: Instruction works best when students are allowed to experiment making new sounds and get immediate feedback on their successes and failures. After all, how can they know if their sound is meaningful or not without feedback! And scaffolding breaks the goal down into smaller segments, so students can become aware of them, learn to recognize them, work on them, and control them, step by step.
We have a lot to learn from babies! Scroll down to Teresa's post and watch this fascinating study and it's implications for how we communicate socially (and how we can improve pronunciation teaching).