Parenting Guide

Parenting Guide

What is Parentese?

Do you talk to your baby differently than you talk to other adults? If you’re like most parents, you absolutely do—and very differently at that. The playful, exaggerated style of speech that you use to talk with your baby is called “parentese.”

Parentese is distinguished by:

• Slower speech patterns.

• Raised speech pitch by at least one octave.

• Singsong style of speech.

• Exaggerated facial expressions.

• Short, simple sentences.

• Elongated and emphasized vowel sounds.

• Watching and waiting for a response from your baby.

Babies love parentese and, luckily, most everyone else does, too! In fact, it’s not just an American phenomenon—parents, grandparents, adults, and children throughout the world instinctively use this sing-song voice when speaking to babies.

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