Voices carry so much information. Joy and anger, desires, comfort, vocabulary lessons. As babies learn about their world, the voice of their mother is a particularly powerful tool. One way mothers wield that tool is by speaking in the often ridiculous, occasionally condescending baby talk.
Also called “motherese,” this is a high-pitched, exaggerated language full of short, slow phrases and big vocal swoops. And when confronted with a tiny human, pretty much everybody — not just mothers, fathers and grandparents — instinctively does it.
Now, a study has turned up another way mothers modulate their voice during baby talk. Instead of focusing on changes such as pitch and rhythm, the researchers focused on timbre, the “color” or quality of a sound.Vocal fingerprint
The unique “color” or quality of a voice is called timbre. You can hear timbre differences here, when two... Read More
I recently wrote about the power that adults’ words can have on young children. Today, I’m writing about the power of adults’ actions. Parents know, of course, that their children keep a close eye on them. But a new study provides a particularly... Read More
It’s hard not to compliment kids on certain things. When my little girls fancy themselves up in tutus, which is every single time we leave the house, people tell them how pretty they are. I know these folks’ intentions are good, but an abundance of... Read More
We’re going through a comic book phase at my house. Since lucking into the comics stash at the library, my 4-year-old refuses any other literary offering. Try as I might to rekindle her love of Rosie Revere, my daughter shuns that scrappy little... Read More
I heard it for the first time a few days ago: “She’s copying me!” my 4-year-old wailed in a righteous complaint about her little sister. And she most certainly was copying, repeating the same nonsense word over and over. While it was distressing to... Read More
When my younger daughter was around 6 months old, we gave her mashed up prune. She grimaced and shivered a little, appearing to be absolutely disgusted. But then she grunted and reached for more.Most babies are ready for solid food around 6 months... Read More
One of the best things about having young children is that they give you a new way to see the world — a total cliché, yes, but true. Rainbows in water fountains are mesmerizing. Roly-poly bugs are worth stopping for. Bright blouses on strangers are... Read More