Baby Talk Is Similar Across Different Languages: Study Finds

Does Baby Talk Sound Same

Psychology News

Researchers at the University of York and Aarhus University explored the similarities in baby talk across 36 languages. The study is published in the journal Nature Human Behaviour.

The Study

The research team wanted to understand whether baby talk or infant-directed speech (IDS) has universal qualities in different languages. It used a meta-analytic method to examine previous studies about IDS and its role in child development. The analysis took into consideration factors like pitch, melody, articulation of vowel sounds, etc.

The Findings

The results revealed that baby talk has universal qualities across all languages. It was also found that how caregivers talk to young infants changes as the child’s grasp of language and speech increases.

Most features of infant-directed speech gradually become more similar to adult speech style, but the high pitch melodic sounds and exaggerated vowels continue into early life.

One of the lead researchers, Professor Riccardo Fusaroli, elaborated: “These results really highlight the interactive nature of this speech style, with caregivers providing dynamic and tailored feedback to their children’s vocalizations and reacting to infants’ changing developmental needs.

To Know More You May Refer To

Cox, C., Bergmann, C., Fowler, E., Keren-Portnoy, T., Roepstorff, A., Bryant, G., & Fusaroli, R. (2022). A systematic review and Bayesian meta-analysis of the acoustic features of infant-directed speech. Nature human behaviour, 10.1038/s41562-022-01452-1. Advance online publication.

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