Dear 'Abby-Wabby' takes on baby talk

Filed under: Development/Milestones: Babies, Media

Dear Abby's weekend column shares reader views on baby talk and it appears this is yet another hot button topic for some parents. J.D. Griffioen shared some research in December supporting so called 'baby talk' or "parentese", the slower drawn out sounds we use when speaking to our babies.

A specialist writes in calling claims that "baby talk" is harmful to baby's development "patently false".

Another woman, a mother of gifted children (I love that she adds that) and a speech and language pathologist says, "Talking "baby talk" to children can retard their language development." (Go read her letter, it's pretty funny.)

The third letter gets at the bottom of the issue I think. A language teacher writes in to point out what is or is not 'baby talk'. Talking with exaggerated vowel sounds and such are a natural way to teach babies about language. He points out though, ""Me go home" are not examples of baby talk. They are just poor uses of English grammar."

I definitely spoke in a more 'sing song' tone when my children were babies, I think that comes naturally to a lot of parents. Now that they're a preschooler and an elementary schooler, hearing parents of their peers talk to their kids in that same high pitched exaggerated tone makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.