The Best Form of “Baby Talk”

April 29, 2013

Do you find yourself instinctively making goo-goo, gah-gah sounds to your baby? The Doctors discuss the best form of “baby talk” to promote language development.

Baby talk, also referred to as caretaker speech, infant-directed speech (IDS), child-directed speech (CDS) or motherese, is usually delivered with a “cooing” pattern of intonation different from that of normal adult speech: high in pitch, with many glissando variations that are more pronounced than those of normal speech. Studies have shown that from birth, infants prefer to listen to CDS, which is more effective than regular speech in getting and holding an infant’s attention. Some researchers believe that CDS is an important part of the emotional bonding process between the parents and their child, and helps the infants learn the language. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Wisconsin found that using basic “baby talk” may support babies in picking up words faster. Infants pay more attention when parents use CDS, which has a slower and more repetitive tone than used in regular conversation.

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