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Here's why dads cut out 'classic baby talk' while conversing with kids


A new research has suggested that by avoiding baby talk, men may provide a bridge for language acquisition for their children.

When mothers talk to their kids by switching between high and low pitches, they tend to attract kids more than usual and that is why such kind of baby talk is known as "motherese."

In the era of shifting parental roles and increased paternal involvement, Washington State University researchers have investigated whether fathers modify their speech in the same way as mothers do when talking to their babies.

Acoustical Society of America's study shows that the mothers used a higher pitch and varied their pitch more when interacting with their child than with adults, while fathers did not show the same pattern, but instead talked to their children using intonation patterns more like when they talked to other adults.

Researcher Mark VanDam said that this isn't a bad thing at all, it's not a failing of the fathers, and he thinks, that maybe, fathers are doing things that are conducive to their children's learning, but in a different sort of way.

He added that fathers by speaking to their children more like adults might act as a link to the outside world by helping them to deal with unfamiliar speech.

Furthermore, the fathers' less frequent use of classic babytalk doesn't mean that they aren't modifying their speech in other ways by using different vocabulary, changing the volume or duration of their speech. VanDam believes the age and sex of the child might also influence the father's interactions.

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First Published: Wed, May 20 2015. 15:51 IST