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
Raising babies is a combination of the ridiculous, the joyful and the difficult. And while I am most definitely biased, I suspect that there’s something even more difficult about raising babies in the Information Age.A smartphone can be a powerful... 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
Words can’t describe the pandemonium that follows a child’s birth, but I’ll try anyway. After my first daughter was born, I felt like a giant had picked up my life, shaken it hard, martini-style, and returned it to the ground. The familiar objects... Read More
Scientists may have found a sweet new way to fight Group B Strep: Sugars in some women’s breast milk busted up colonies of the potentially harmful bacteria in a small lab study.The results, published online June 1 in ACS Infectious Diseases and... 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