A Civil World. Off-topic discussions on a variety of topics. > Trans-Atlantic Knowledge Exchange

baby talk

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Slartibartfast:
Here's one of those "This may be a stupid question" questions: do y'all have "baby talk" in other languages?  How does it sound different than your regular language?

In English, we tend to use "goo goo ga ga" as our standard "baby talk" phrase (just like cats go meow and roosters go cockadoodledoo).  People who talk in baby talk (usually to babies, but occasionally to their significant others  :-X) purse up their lips a bit so all their vowels sound closer to "oo" and use short, inane words and phrases.

Is that the same in other languages?

BabylonSister:
I believe changing one's voice and speech pattern to speak to a baby is a universal phenomenon. We certainly do in French. One common way to do it is to repeat a syllable. A few "baby" words, with the adult word in parentheses if it came from it:

sleep = dodo (dormir)
milk = lolo (lait)
train = tchoutchou (pronounced like "choochoo")
dog = toutou
teddy bear = nounours (ours)

The syllable repetition is a frequent pattern in French, not just in baby talk (for instance, it's a common way of making nicknames : Christian(e) --> Cricri ; Louis(e) --> Loulou, Albert --> Bébert, etc) but it works particularly well with babies.

Sharnita:
I rember seeing a documentary where they did indeed touch on the fact that all languages do some sort of baby talk and they showed a woman who was Asian talking and while I didn't know what she was saying the cadence and pitch were pretty similar to English(American) baby talk.

magdalena:
Yes, there's baby talk in other languages. Both simplified words and just the pitch/cadence thing. Actually, there are child language experts who claim baby talk to help babies develop language...

Cyradis:

--- Quote from: BabylonSister on September 15, 2011, 09:05:12 PM ---I believe changing one's voice and speech pattern to speak to a baby is a universal phenomenon. We certainly do in French. One common way to do it is to repeat a syllable. A few "baby" words, with the adult word in parentheses if it came from it:

sleep = dodo (dormir)
milk = lolo (lait)
train = tchoutchou (pronounced like "choochoo")
dog = toutou
teddy bear = nounours (ours)

The syllable repetition is a frequent pattern in French, not just in baby talk (for instance, it's a common way of making nicknames : Christian(e) --> Cricri ; Louis(e) --> Loulou, Albert --> Bébert, etc) but it works particularly well with babies.

--- End quote ---

That's very interesting. I've heard "dodo" all my life but never knew its origins; we have strong French and Spanish influences in our culture.

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