Talk:Baby talk

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Former good article nominee Baby talk was a Social sciences and society good articles nominee, but did not meet the good article criteria at the time. There are suggestions below for improving the article. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.
May 24, 2012 Good article nominee Not listed
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Foreigner Baby-Talk?[edit]

For the section "Foreigner talk" I'm not so sure if that is similar to Baby Talk, more so than Cave-man like talk. Usually people do not use high pitches nor do they use repeat single syllable words to refer to things like "boo-boo" when speaking to a foreigner (Usually because those may be culture specific vocabulary that other cultures may not understand). Some other things I noticed also were for the examples of Baby Talk. It might be a good idea to have examples from other languages as well, including phonetic reading, just to get a better idea of baby talk. For the sections "Phonology" and "Syntax", maybe some diagrams or trees would be helpful. Jcjjfu52 (talk) 04:47, 19 September 2014 (UTC)


This article should be titled more appropriately towards the linguistic terminology, such as Child Directed Speech or Infant Directed Speech. The general description of the term “Baby Talk” is vague and unstructured concerning facts and content. The “Purpose and Implications” section could use some organization within subcategories to break up the paragraphs to make it easier to navigate the different ideas. Give less examples of “Baby Talk” in the “Vocabulary and Structure” section, maybe limit it to 10-15 examples.

Contko (talk) 00:05, 19 September 2014 (UTC)


I think it's interesting how words such as "mother", "father", "dad" etc probably are derived from Baby Talk... But that is likely(?) from babies, themselves, rather than their mothers. Maybe we could add something about that...

Well, dad, and mom are from baby talk, but mother and father are not. JayW 19:51, 6 June 2006 (UTC)
Mom and dad are from baby speech, not baby talk. -Acjelen 03:54, 23 July 2006 (UTC)

I removed the reference quoting the researcher regarding baby talk being similar to poetry. It's not a mainstream idea at this time, and I don't think it's appropriate for an article on such a general topic to quote one single researcher on recent findings, especially subjective or controversial findings. That should be left to magazine or newspaper articles. Jeeves 18:44, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Um... Why "especially mothers"? Alveolate 06:33, 5 April 2006 (UTC)

Or lack thereof?[edit]

I was extremely disappointed to see that this article has (essentially) no information about the many societies that don't use CDL. I suppose I'll have to dredge through my bookshelf to get more, but here's a snippet from Language Development by Erika Hoff (Wadsworth, 2005, p. 117):

Furthermore, in many cultures - including the cultures of the Samoans (Ochs, 1982; Schieffelin & Ochs, 1986), Papua New Guineans (Schieffelin, 1979, 1985), aboriginal groups in Australia (Bavin, 1992), Mayans in Mexico (Brown, 2001), and U.S. African Americans in the rural South (Heath, 1983) - adults simply do not address speech to prelinguistic infants. In these cultures, infants are loved, held, and cared for but not talked to, yet they learn to talk. The fact that language acquisition is universal whereas infant-directed speech may not be raises the question of how important the properties of infant-directed speech can be for language development...

The studies cited are:

  • Ochs, E. (1982). Talking to children in Western Samoa. Language in Society, 11, 77-104.
  • Schieffelin, B. B., & Ochs, E. (1986). Language socialization. Annual Review of Anthropology, 15, 163-191.
  • Schieffelin, B. B. (1979). Getting it together: An ethnographic approach to the study of the development of communicative competence. In E. Ochs & B. B. Schieffelin (Eds.), Developmental Pragmatics (pp. 73-110). New York: Academic Press.
  • Schieffelin, B. B. (1985). The acquisition of Kaluli. In D. I. Slobin (Ed.), The crosslinguistic study of language acquisition: Vol. 1. The data (pp. 525-594). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
  • Bavin, E. L. (1992). The acquisition of Warlpiri. In D. I. Slobin (Ed.), The crosslinguistic study of language acquisition: Vol. 3. (pp. 309-372). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
  • Brown, P. (2001). Learning to talk about motion: Up and DOWN in Tzeltal: is there a language-specific bias for verb learning? In M. Bowerman & S. Levinson (Eds.), Language acquisition and conceptual development. (pp. 512-543). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Heath, S. E. (1983). Ways with words. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

I guess I'll try and chase those down when I get a chance. This data should really be in here. It's appalling that it's not. 18:25, 28 September 2006 (UTC)

Yes, please be bold and add information about such research. It sounds fascinating. :-) Ruakh 06:28, 29 September 2006 (UTC)
Yes, go for it. Dpbsmith (talk) 12:10, 29 September 2006 (UTC)

Edit - Agree?[edit]

I recently removed a "Sex and the City" reference that involved the mention of "Titty Witties," feeling this was inappropriate and could be found offensive by someone who stumbles upon it unknowingly. Just wanted to get peoples' opinions on this matter. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 00:12, 6 February 2007 (UTC).


Maybe someone who's informed could provide some theories as to *why* people use CDS with babies and children?

Restoring "examples" section[edit]

Retitling it "examples in literature" and using those for which a reference is clear (it not explicit). I don't see any indication here or in edit comments of why it was removed. It is useful in documenting the way baby talk is used in dialogue, and as indicating its cultural universality at least in the English-speaking world. It also shows how perfectly recognizable a 1917 example is to modern ears. Dpbsmith (talk) 19:31, 18 December 2007 (UTC)


The most recent editions appear to be more pronunciations than actual words... should they not be removed unless they can be found in actual dictionaries. Hesitant to do it myself though. (talk) 11:29, 18 January 2008 (UTC)

I agree with you. I would say that a word isnt a baby talk word proper unless adults use it and it is the word itself that has a special meaning rather than just the tone of voice. e.g. Adults do use /w/ for L and R in a humorous way among each other but I dont know if that really counts as baby talk because it isnt tied to any particular words. If we can find people saying sowwy to their kids then it should stay ... but they dont, as far as I know. Haplolology Talk/Contributions 12:08, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
The following discussion is an archived discussion of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the proposal was move to baby talk as the common name for the topic.--Fuhghettaboutit (talk) 12:36, 12 July 2009 (UTC)

Request to move[edit]

Child-directed speechBaby language — item of psycholinguistics with ancient denomination Caceo (talk) 13:40, 5 July 2009 (UTC)

  • Oppose quite strongly: the former gets more Google hits than the latter, which to me is pretty strong evidence it's more than valid, given it's unlikely a phrase like "child-directed speech" would get many spurious hits. Moreover, hits include scientific papers from .edu addresses and similar, while "Baby language" mostly gives Wikipedia itself. --LjL (talk) 13:45, 5 July 2009 (UTC)
Please look interlinks de:Babysprache, fr:Langage enfantin, it:Linguaggio infantile, pt:Fala de bebê. Why not the exact translation and ancient denomination in english ? target Baby language is empty. --Caceo (talk) 14:17, 5 July 2009 (UTC)
Uhm, well, it's only empty because you removed the redirect that it contained to Dunstan Baby Language. Also, what other languages call something is irrelevant to what English calls it. You say "baby language" is the common term in English; maybe you're right, but Google hints to the contrary. Maybe scientific usage of the concept is more common than, uh, common usage, in which case the scientific term should be employed. --LjL (talk) 14:21, 5 July 2009 (UTC)
What the sources of this scientific terme ? How translate it ?
  • (english) Child-directed speech (CDS) = direct talk to child
  • (fr) Discours Direct à l'Enfant (DDE) - source ?
  • (es) Discurso Directo al Enfante (DDE) - source ?
  • (it) Discorso diretto all'Infante (DDI) - source ?
If it is without sources to have exact translation, the common ancient translation should be applied. --Caceo (talk) 14:47, 5 July 2009 (UTC)
I don't understand what you are trying to say. Are you saying that the concept was only "imported" from other languages into English...? --LjL (talk) 14:55, 5 July 2009 (UTC)
I say that the name is "Baby language", while "direct talk to child" is a specific concept of it, at present without sources to be eligible to substitute the exact and common inter-links denomination. --Caceo (talk) 15:06, 5 July 2009 (UTC)
Oh, I see, you mean to say that there are no sources to substantiate this being a commonly used scientific term in English rather than a WP:Neologism? Well, in that case, I have added a few now. --LjL (talk) 15:23, 5 July 2009 (UTC)
Please cite in that section Child-directed_speech#Terminology. We know that the ancient term Baby talk is the one use by researchers and psychologists in other languages (also german). therefore cite the source that state english researchers and psychologists are preferring the term Child-directed speech. --Caceo (talk) 15:59, 5 July 2009 (UTC)
This is the English Wikipedia, not the German, Italian, French or Spanish one. Anyway, I've added the reference requested. I've also already said that it's easy to see which term is preferred by simply making a Google search for both terms, "baby language" and "child-directed speech". Try [1]. --LjL (talk) 16:02, 5 July 2009 (UTC)
The cited source do not say what you are saying. It only call a specific topic and do not state a redefinition of "Baby language". Otherwise please cite statement quoting it. --Caceo (talk) 16:34, 5 July 2009 (UTC)
Specification of object: we are speaking about moving Child-directed speech to Baby language, (empty voice so far and topic of psycholinguistics, not to move to "baby talk"). The Una Smith vote above is invalid. --Caceo (talk) 17:42, 5 July 2009 (UTC)
Nonsense, it's not at all invalid. Una Smith clearly said that "baby language", what you proposed to move to, is not considered acceptable, while "baby talk" (which, however, is taken), if anything, would be the vernacular name for this subject. Please, don't say whose votes are invalid based on your own misunderstanding... --LjL (talk) 19:27, 5 July 2009 (UTC)
  • Oppose Sorry. While I don't particularly like the idea of having this article at Child-directed speech either, I believe the best solution would be to move it back to baby talk, where it was for several years, and not to baby language. Child-directed speech is indeed a mainstream term used in psychology. --- Soap Talk/Contributions 20:23, 5 July 2009 (UTC)
I agree with you that article should be moved to baby talk, nevertheless i report that all others WP translate baby language (fr:Langage enfantin etc.) because baby cognition is based not only in talk. Baby language in my knowledge remain the psycholinguistic more adequate denomination. --Caceo (talk) 21:15, 5 July 2009 (UTC)
Oh by the way, why did you point the it: article to "Linguaggio infantile", which is merely a redirect to "language acquisition" on the Italian Wikipedia? Hopefully not just to give undue support to your point of view on the issue... The actual article on the Italian Wikipedia is "baby talk". In English. :\ --LjL (talk) 21:32, 5 July 2009 (UTC)
Yes I moved the italian article to adjust italian denomination, because the french one was exact and the italian one was wrong. No problem! --Caceo (talk) 21:54, 5 July 2009 (UTC)


  • Both possible target articles baby talk and baby language have ben created some hour ago.
  • Some suggestion what to do ?

I put off the move question to a later time, to see the evolution of the new articles. --Caceo (talk) 00:08, 6 July 2009 (UTC)

What, "some hour ago"? Baby talk has existed since May 26. Baby language is now a stub (while it was previously a redirect to something else, and had been for months) saying that there's two different "baby language", one of which is receptive (I assume that would be our "child-directed speak"). It only remains to be backed up by WP:Reliable sources... --LjL (talk) 00:12, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
I have emptied Baby language (13:52, 5 July 2009 Caceo) removing it's wrong redirection. Now it is edited and is a stub, as well as baby talk, thus I wait their evolution. Thank you! --Caceo (talk) 00:45, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
Receptive language is not child-directed speech, but the ability to understand language. Babies' receptive language normally develops in advance of their expressive language, thus for example they can understand simple instructions from adults long before they are able to repeat the instructions. --Una Smith (talk) 01:34, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
  • Move to Baby talk. Technically, child-directed speech is any speech by an adult directed to anyone under the age of majority, normally 18 years old. Clearly not what the article is about. Baby talk is well known and a very common term for the subject of the article, which is an adult choosing a baby-like pattern of speech directed only to a very young child - a baby. (talk) 01:38, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
Your source for claiming that technically CDS is what you said it is, please? --LjL (talk) 01:45, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
Any dictionary. Child = anyone under 18. Directed = to someone. Speech = verbally. Child-directed speech, therefore, is any adult talking to anyone under 18. (talk) 04:27, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
Sorry, but I find this to be nonsense. This is a scientific topic, what matters is how WP:Reliable sources (and I added a few just at the beginning of the article, in case anyone missed them) use the term, now how a dictionary defines the single constituents of the terms - building from that would be obvious WP:Original research. This is basically a compound word, and its meaning isn't necessarily the sum of the meanings of its constituents. --LjL (talk) 12:49, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
A more accurate term, if you want to stick with 10 cent words, is "infant-directed speech". The common term, however, is baby talk. (talk) 14:01, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
Yup. I revised the dab page accordingly. --Una Smith (talk) 02:42, 7 July 2009 (UTC)
I'm opposing to move to baby language, which is very unclear. --Invitamia (talk) 22:14, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
  • Comment. No second move request is required. It is quite common for a move request to morf into something else, and the closing admin (or whoever closes) will move to baby talk if that is the consensus. (talk) 14:44, 7 July 2009 (UTC)
  • Opppose move to Baby talk. That title is too ambiguous and so I support having that title be a disambiguation page. I also Oppose moving it to Baby language, as that to me would imply either Babbling or Dunstan Baby Language, not child-directed speech. Powers T 14:30, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
    • I see nothing ambiguous about baby talk. The purpose of a disambiguation page, however, is not to explain ambiguous terms, but to distinguish between identical terms - for example, if you look, baby talk is the name of a couple of songs, etc., each of which, clearly, is referring to "baby talk". If you want a scientific term, use Infant-directed speech, but that is clearly not the correct title, which needs to use the common name. (talk) 14:52, 7 July 2009 (UTC)
      • What I mean is that when someone searches for or links "Baby talk", we have no basis on which to make a reasonably certain guess as to which article is meant. It could be any number of things, although Babbling and child-directed speech the most likely candidates. But I see no basis on which to distinguish between those two in terms of primacy. Powers T 16:49, 8 July 2009 (UTC)
  • Support a move to baby talk. Maybe not ideal but less ambiguous and more precise than "child-directed speech." — AjaxSmack 06:31, 11 July 2009 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

I believe this talk page should be moved, as well (though for that matter, I really believe the above was a "no consensus", too, so...). --LjL (talk) 13:04, 12 July 2009 (UTC)

I was taking care of some other matters—a history merge of baby talk and baby talk (disambiguation), fixing double redirects and then reporting a cluebot false positive reverting one of the double redirect fixes. Have patience:-) As for reviewing the arguments made, assigning them weight against policy and thinking there was no consensus, we'll have to disagree on that one.--Fuhghettaboutit (talk) 13:21, 12 July 2009 (UTC)
I agree the consensus was to move to Baby talk, but I wish my argument against that move had been refuted more clearly. I'm still not convinced that this is obviously the primary topic compared to Babbling or Baby language. Powers T 10:36, 13 July 2009 (UTC)


We are working on updating this page for our college Psychology class, Psychology of Language. As changes are made we will post them to this page for editing and feedback. We look forward to expanding the depth of this topic on Wikipedia. Ahartlin (talk) 13:49, 15 March 2012 (UTC)Kfinsand (talk) 13:53, 15 March 2012 (UTC)


I'm so sorry iof I deleted anyones comments, I thought you were supposed to delete it so you could add in your comment, I was completely unaware, I guess u can say i'm a newbe to wikipedia an im only doin it for a project. so sorry :( —Preceding unsigned comment added by Princesspaperieca (talkcontribs) 22:58, 17 March 2010 (UTC)

No real problem, everything is easily repaired. =) I'm sorry I don't have an answer to your question. You might want to try the Wikipedia:Reference desk. Powers T 13:09, 19 March 2010 (UTC)


The Wikipedia article on “Baby Talk” or “Infant Directed Speech” describes this practice as the use of high pitched speech with short words to communicate most often with children. In addition, the article outlines alternative names for this method of speech. Possible purposes of “baby talk” include that babies are more likely to respond to this method and prefer to listen to this type of speech. “Baby talk” also aids infants in their ability to learn words as they are usually in simplified forms as well as providing a base for infants to understand the fundamental attributes of language structure. Further, “baby talk” has been linked to the development of the ability of children to ask questions. This article includes a section regarding universality of “baby talk”. However, this particular section needs to be expanded and will be a major site of revision through this project. We hope to include a section on differences by region regarding this topic as well. The article highlights that “baby talk” is not solely used with infants and can be used in communication with foreign language, in a condescending manner, or with pets. This Wikipedia article also includes a list of vocabulary often used in “baby talk” which may need to be condensed. This does not allow the reader to understand the implications or structure of baby talk, rather simply provides a list of examples. We hope to expand this article to include additional specifics about the characteristics of “baby talk”, adding phonology and syntax sections to the vocabulary section, and, finally, add a section outlining the implications of “baby talk” in order to provide a more comprehensive view of effects. This may include, but is not limited to, how “baby talk” impacts word recognition, social preferences, and aids cognitive development.

Below is a list of sources that will be applicable to these updates:

Green, J. R., Nip, I. S. B., Wilson, E. M., Mefferd, A. S., & Yunusova, Y. (2010). Lip movement exaggerations during infant-directed speech. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 53(6), 1529-1542. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2010/09-0005)

Kaplan, P. S., Dungan, J. K., & Zinser, M. C. (2004). Infants of chronically depressed mothers learn in response to male, but not female, infant-directed speech. Developmental Psychology, 40(2), 140-148. doi:10.1037/0012-1649.40.2.140

Kaplan, P. S., Jung, P. C., Ryther, J. S., & Zarlengo-Strouse, P. (1996). Infant-directed versus adult-directed speech as signals for faces. Developmental Psychology, 32(5), 880-891. doi:10.1037/0012-1649.32.5.880

Liu, H., Tsao, F., & Kuhl, P. K. (2007). Acoustic analysis of lexical tone in mandarin infant-directed speech. Developmental Psychology, 43(4), 912-917. doi:10.1037/0012-1649.43.4.912

McLeod, P. J. (1993). What studies of communication with infants ask us about psychology: Baby-talk and other speech registers. Canadian Psychology/Psychologie Canadienne, 34(3), 282-292. doi:10.1037/h0078828

Schachner, A., & Hannon, E. E. (2011). Infant-directed speech drives social preferences in 5-month-old infants. Developmental Psychology, 47(1), 19-25. doi:10.1037/a0020740

Singh, L., Morgan, J. L., & Best, C. T. (2002). Infants' listening preferences: Baby talk or happy talk? Infancy, 3(3), 365-394. doi:10.1207/S15327078IN0303_5

Singh, L., Nestor, S., Parikh, C., & Yull, A. (2009). Influences of infant-directed speech on early word recognition. Infancy, 14(6), 654-666. doi:10.1080/15250000903263973 Kfinsand (talk) 04:48, 22 March 2012 (UTC) Thiessen, E. D., Hill, E. A., & Saffran, J. R. (2005). Infant-directed speech facilitates word segmentation. Infancy, 7(1), 53-71. doi:10.1207/s15327078in0701_5

Kfinsand (talk) 04:49, 22 March 2012 (UTC)

Possible Edit/Delete[edit]

There was previous talk on this page about removing some of the vocabulary, as stated above, we are editing this page for our psychology class and have come to the consensus that the extensive vocabulary section is unnecessary and lacking references. We propose to remove this extensive list and replace it with a handful of referenced examples. Ahartlin (talk) 14:15, 22 March 2012 (UTC)

GAN Nomination[edit]

This was nominated with outstanding clean-up tags. Wikipedia articles needing clarification (October 2011), Articles with specifically marked weasel-worded phrases (March 2009, May 2010). These should be dealt with quickly or the article coul be quickfailed. AIRcorn (talk) 10:30, 9 May 2012 (UTC)

GA Review[edit]

This review is transcluded from Talk:Baby talk/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.

Reviewer: Sasata (talk · contribs) 18:47, 15 May 2012 (UTC)

I'll review this article. Before we begin, please clean up the outstanding tags, and ensure that each paragraph has a citation, as I need to check to confirm the sources are being properly represented and adequately paraphrased. A number of paragraphs in the "Vocabulary and Structure" section have numerical citation tags (suggesting that the information was copy-pasted from somewhere), so these will need to be converted to regular inline citations as well. Sasata (talk) 18:47, 15 May 2012 (UTC)

No changes have been made to the article (nor has the nominator edited since May 2), so will have to close this review as failed. Sasata (talk) 15:48, 24 May 2012 (UTC)

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Can we expand on why grown women will sometimes speak like this? like, the psychology behind it?— Preceding unsigned comment added by Bumblebritches57 (talkcontribs) 02:40, 20 February 2014 (UTC)

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I have checked the sources, but the results are unsatisfactory.
The second reference (Reschke at was successfully archived and can be retrieved in full from the archive.
The first reference (Khattab at cannot be retrieved from the archive due to that website's robots.txt. We will need to find it elsewhere, or else remove the reference completely. What next? yoyo (talk) 12:18, 27 June 2016 (UTC)


I am confused about the last sentence in the Aid to cognitive development section, which states that "Some feel that parents should refer to the child and others by their names only (no pronouns, e.g., he, I, or you), to avoid confusing infants who have yet to form an identity independent from their parents." Attempts to find any information related to this turned up mostly empty. The most relevant result I found was an editorial essay in a blog (here: [2]) which takes a clear idealogical stance in relation to issues of gender and social justice.

In this instance I am unsure whether or not this statement should be removed, or just clarified in some way?

CeraWithaC (talk) 01:24, 1 June 2016 (UTC)

Update: That sentence was deleted on 12 June 2016 – and rightly so! yoyo (talk) 10:50, 27 June 2016 (UTC)

Use with infants - dubious unsourced statement[edit]

The section "Use with infants" concludes with the following unsourced statement:

"families with a lower-status might just have less time to spend focusing on interactions."

This is {dubious} at best, and I've so marked it for discussion here. Although plausible, no evidence is given to support it.

To the contrary, I'm aware of some research of the last couple of decades that shows that some high-status parents, in particular doctors, have high levels of work-related stress that leads to them being more likely than average:

  • to abuse alcohol and other drugs,
  • to suffer marital and other adult relationship problems, and
  • to be time-poor,

all of which means that such families "might just have less time to spend focusing on interactions" (with their infant – and other – children), to borrow a phrase. This goes double for parents who are both in high-status occupations.

Your thoughts are welcome! yoyo (talk) 10:41, 27 June 2016 (UTC)

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