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shilolo's avatar

Do you like or dislike hearing people talk to infants and toddlers in a "baby voice"?

Asked by shilolo (17998points) November 19th, 2008

I now have two children, and have seen a number of people talk to my children (and their own) in different styles. I prefer to speak in my normal voice, and find “baby voices” grating. What are your thoughts on the matter.

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34 Answers

cwilbur's avatar

I find them irritating as well. I’ve also read that talking normally to infants is much better for their language development, because they’re hearing real language and not baby talk.

But I don’t have children of my own, and so I’m unlikely to be able to impose this preference on others.

dynamicduo's avatar

Teeny itsy bitsy babies are the only type of humans who can be talked to in baby voices, IMO. I always talk to children the same way as I do with adults, albeit with not as many big words, and no discussions about politics.

rossi_bear's avatar

I think that it is better to talk to them in a regular voice and normal talk. they seem to pick up on things better if they know what the real words are.

trumi's avatar

I mean, I usually soften my voice, especially if I’m trying to calm a kid down. But I don’t care for the elevated voices.

And I HATE baby talk. Use real words, with real consonants, or your kid is going to be confused.

augustlan's avatar

Eh, a little here and there is fine…but for the most part I much prefer to use my regular voice.

Les's avatar

I hate when people talk in baby voice to other adults. I had these friends who were dating and the girl always talked in baby voice to the guy. What is up with that? “I’m sowwy.” “I wuv you.” Ugh. It’s like nails on a chalkboard.

lollipop's avatar

I do not like the ‘baby talk’ at all and it does ‘grate’ on my nerves when I hear it. My daughter is 5 now and will do it with her dad and I am always correcting her…. Can’t figure out how to get her to NOT do it anymore. Not sure why but the baby talk has always bothered me even before I had my own children!

gailcalled's avatar

Shi; there seems to be some hardwiring; maybe newborns hear higher pitches more easily. Hell, I talk to Milo that way sometimes.

cak's avatar

I have two children, 14 & 5, for the better part, there was no baby talk. I’m not going to say I never changed my pitch, trying to find a way to soothe them, but none of the true baby talk.

shilolo's avatar

It seems that the majority favor the “normal voice” approach, yet I see (and hear) lots of people use the high pitched voice ad nauseum. Although little kids are not adults, talking down to them, in my opinion, is counterproductive. Either I need to find some way to deal with my own irritation, or tell some of the people (namely, my in-laws) that it drives me crazy and ask them politely to stop.

dynamicduo's avatar

If it bothers you, I don’t see a problem in informing your in-laws that you’d prefer if they talked to your children in a regular voice. Then again I’m childfree so take my suggestion for what it’s worth.

gailcalled's avatar

In fact, I noticed myself using a different pitch at the Vet’s yesterday. Milo was declared “The Most Handsome Cat Who Peed in His Carrying Case.”

Boo, however to the baby talk.

lollipop's avatar

@shilolo, Good luck! I sure hope they will ‘oblige you on your request’! I have asked my daughters dad to stop doing it and he just won’t. I know others that won’t quit either…

wildflower's avatar

I’m guilty of tuning out a lot of talk about babies (not being part of the parent club myself, it has limited appeal), but if people start talking in baby voices…....I’m gone!

robmandu's avatar

[falsetto] Whatcha-wudda do you-sie woo-sie mean, you cute li’l muchkin you? I’m just talkin’ dis way becaus-y wuzzy you’re so-o-o-o adorable, yes, you are. [/falsetto]

shilolo's avatar

^^^^ -100 lurve for that, Robmandu! Aaaaggggghhhhh!!!!!

andrew's avatar

@shilolo: You could always put the “hideously deformed baby” mask on her. Then you might not have to suffer.

@gail: We talk to our pets like lunatics as well. Though I picked up from my father: “Hello <insert cat’s name>. What do you know?”

cak's avatar

@robmandu…it was almost scary how easily you did the baby talk! :) lurve to you!

shilolo's avatar

@andrew. Do you mean this mask?

flameboi's avatar

I hate that :S

cak's avatar

@shilolo…just when I think I’ve seen it all! I’ve never seen a poo hat before.

mea05key's avatar

It doesnt matter.

tinyfaery's avatar

YES! “Baby talk” should be limited to communicating with pets, only.

chyna's avatar

I hate baby talk and want to strangle whoever is near me doing it.

eaglei20200's avatar

We have always spoken to our children as if they were people, not animals in “Bambi,” and they’ve all become avid readers and done well in school and on “verbal” kinds of tests.

Research suggests that there is a “mommy voice/intonation” that is actually quite useful and positive as a part of infant language development, but I don’t believe the mommy intonation requires silly words and broken syntax.

Somewhat snobbily, I always think parents who insist on the baby talk thing are putting their kids at an intellectual disadvantage later on. Don’t know if there is reliable research on this, so I’m forced to rely on the small empirical sample of those around me.

jlm11f's avatar

I agree with the general consensus. Baby talk = annoying and rather unnecessary.

loki's avatar

you can bypass a lot of these types of pain by not breeding

shilolo's avatar

@loki. Wow. Insightful and snarky. Thanks for the input.

gailcalled's avatar

@shi: I loved reading this: “I now have two children.”

babygalll's avatar

Infants prefer the high pitch voice over the masculine deep voices. It doesn’t bother me too much, but when people are constantly doing it past infancy it gets on my nerves. People need to talk to children like adults, so they can learn to speak they way adults do.

GUAGELESS's avatar

I think it’s silly to argue that infants are going to be mentally inferior because somebody spoke baby talk to them when they were infants. I had to laugh when I read the one about the person who thought that they and their child were intellectually superior because they “never” spoke baby talk to their child. I have yet to see an infant come out of the womb speaking, much less like an adult. I also thought it was silly for the woman who just brought her infant home to already be sweating over the grandparents who spoke baby talk to the infant. Talk about anal, I just have to ask how much of her infancy she remembers? And how properly she spoke? How does she know the grandfolks won’t speak differently to their grandchild once he or she actually begins talking? I admit older children who speak baby talk get on my last nerve as well but, come on!

wildflower's avatar

@gaugeless: perhaps the parents you refer to all believe their little one is another Stewie Griffin

cdwccrn's avatar

I can’t stand baby talk.

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