Why Is Infant-Directed Speech Preferred Over Adult Speech?

Why Is Infant-Directed Speech Preferred Over Adult Speech

There is no one specific way to talk to infants and young children – each child is different. However, one common approach is called infant-directed speech, which is when the speaker adjusts their language when talking to kids. This can help engage them and make communication easier. The altered speech features higher pitch and exaggerated intonation contours compared to normal adult conversation. This frequency modulation is believed to help babies learn by making it easier for them to distinguish phonetic contrasts that are difficult for them given their less-developed auditory, In addition, infant-directed speech often involves the use of affective prosody such as baby talk.

In terms of low-level acoustic properties, well-formed syllables tend to be produced with a lower fundamental frequency in infant-directed speech than in normal adult-directed speech (Ferguson, 1963; Fernald and Kuhl, 1987). Therefore, infant-directed speech often sounds sing-songy to the adult ear.

Infant-Directed Speech Preferred Over Adult Speech

Baby starts learning to communicate through eye contact, gestures, and warm touch.. However, one style of communication may be extremely efficient in attracting a baby’s attention — and in helping a baby “break the code” of spoken language. Infants are known to enjoy infant-directed speech and speech patterns that sound similar to it. When portions of infant-directed speech and regular adult-directed speech were played together, 3-month-old infants listened equally to each.Infant-Directed Speech Preferred Over Adult Speech

The infants’ pulse rates increased and they spent more time staring toward the speakers from which the altered speech was emerging when the talker switched from infant-directed to standard adult-directed manner at a point in between the two passages

Importance Of Infant- Directed Speech

Other research has suggested that infants are sensitive to the exaggerated pitch contours of infant-directed speech, at least when phonemes are presented in isolation. For example, 3-month-old infants looked longer at a video baby monitor when they heard two syllables of infant-directed speech that had been artificially raised in pitch relative to normal adult-directed speech (Shi et al., 2011).

In addition, 6-month-old infants were tested to determine whether they could detect the difference between infant-directed and normal adult-directed speech when both types of passages contained similar affective information. That is, would infants recognize that although an example of infant-directed speech might sound sing-songy, it was also conveying affection toward the baby?

When presented with paired examples of infant-directed and normal adult-directed speech containing matched pitch contours but different effective information, 6-month-olds looked longer at a video monitor displaying the former than at one displaying the latter (Burnham et al., 2003).

Final Thoughts

The preference for infant-directed speech over adult speech is not limited to primates. A study of human infants found that babies prefer listening to the noise or sounds they heard in the womb, which are mostly high-frequency vowel and consonant sounds with a low bass range. This means that baby voices may be more comforting than other adults’ voices because there are no surprises or unexpected changes in tone—the sound just seems natural. And it doesn’t hurt that mothers have been speaking this way for thousands of years

If you’re looking to connect with your customers on an emotional level, then try using some infant-directed speech yourself when communicating with them online or offline so they can feel like their needs are being met by someone who understands.

Keren Smooth

Hi, my name is Keren Smooth. My friends LaTarsha Holdenton and Renae Reinardy forced me to start Blogging under the company name “K2babycare” to share my knowledge of parenting with other Moms, to become a better Mom tomorrow than today.

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