To this day, many parents are still guilty of ‘baby-talking’ to their infants in the goal of making it easier for babies to understand. However, a Japanese study shows that this may have an adverse effect.
Research teams in Japan and Paris, published their findings in Psychological Science to determine if mothers do speak more clearly to infants. Researchers in Tokyo recorded 22 Japanese mothers speaking to their children, all 18-24 months, as well as to an experimenter. Over the next five years, researchers concluded that mothers communicated more clearly to the experimenter rather than when they are speaking to their babies.
Acoustics between two syllables were measured by the researchers as well as they looked at the 118 most frequent syllables in the 14 hours of speech.
While speaking more clearly to boost language retention has yet to be proven, the study’s findings do prove that “baby-talk” may not have the effect new parents are expecting. “This finding is important because it challenges the widespread view that parents do and should hyperarticulate, using very robust data and an analysis based on a study of 10 times as many syllable contrasts as previous work,” says Alejandrina Cristia, a researcher at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in Paris.
Whether baby talk can take a toll on a child’s learning or not, there are still more benefits found in speaking to infants with clearer and properly enunciated words. Here are the top 3 reasons why you should avoid baby talking:
Start Learning Proper Pronunciation Early
The earlier you start talking to them more clearly and in a normal way, the earlier they will learn how to pronounce the words right. With baby talk, there is a tendency for parents to exaggerate which may confuse a child in the future.
Better Understanding of the Language
Children are quicker to adopt sentence construction and better understanding of your language if you talk to them normally. It will be easier for them to understand what you are trying to say just in case you have a ‘slip of the tongue’ (ex: saying big ouch rather than saying very painful/get hurt/injured) in the future.
Make them Feel Important
If you’re used to talking to your child like a baby all the time, there’s a possibility that the habit might carry over when they turn into toddlers. You don’t want to do this during formative years especially when your child starts to strongly want to feel that he/she is an important part of the family. It is best to build the habit of talking to your child as normal as you can at an early age.