Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Child Behavior and Development

pp 414-415


  • Meredith L. McKeeAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, Washburn University


Gurgle; Soft cry


Cooing is a stage of infants’ prelinguistic speech development and consists of the production of single syllable, vowel-like sounds.


The verbal behavior of infants during the first year of life is termed the prelinguistic period because it does not contain actual words [2]. Common noises during early infancy include crying, cooing, and variations in patterns of intonation. Emerging between 6 and 8 weeks of age, cooing is a stage of prelinguistic speech that is characterized by infants’ first noncrying verbal behavior [3]. Consisting of brief, vowel-like utterances, such as “oo,” or “aa” sounds, or consonant-vowel combinations such as “goo,” cooing provides vocal practice and entertainment to infants, and aides in the development of motor control over vocalizations [1].

Relevance to Childhood Development

Cooing is a spontaneous vocalization behavior that infants typically engage in w ...

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