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Study: Verbal Crutches May Help Kids Learn New Words

BananaStock/Thinkstock(ROCHESTER, N.Y.) -- When speaking with adults, liberally sprinkling "um" and "uh" during conversations can be quite distracting and may make the speaker seem less knowledgeable.

But the use of these verbal crutches when speaking to young children may actually help them learn new vocabulary, according to a new study published in Developmental Science Thursday.

Researchers at the University of Rochester found that children between 18 and 30 months old paid more attention to a new word if it was preceded by an "um" or an "uh," as in:  "Look at the, uh...," as opposed to "Look at the...."

The researchers think this could be because children may use the verbal fumble as a sign that a new word is coming.

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