It’s Official: Baby Talk Is Universal
by Matthew Gilligan
Go ahead and admit it: you’ve engaged in some baby talk babble with a little kid before.
It’s okay, we all have!
And an interesting new study shows that people all over the world and from all different cultures and backgrounds do it, too. In other words, baby talk is universal, folks!
Researchers analyzed more than 1,600 recordings of about 400 people from 21 different diverse societies around the globe and discovered that people all over the world changed the way they speak when they interact with babies that is universal across cultures.
The study spanned six continents and people who spoke 18 different languages, so there’s no denying that baby talk is indeed something all of us do, no matter where we come from. In fact, the researchers even studied populations as diverse as those in big cities like Beijing and hunter-gatherer communities in Tanzania in Africa.
Researchers found that baby talk differed from the way adults normally talk in 11 different ways. There was some difference between cultures, but co-author Courtney Hilton said, “Our study provides the strongest test yet of whether there are acoustic regularities in infant-directed vocalizations across cultures.”
“It is also really the first to convincingly address this question in both speech and song simultaneously. The consistencies in vocal features offer a really tantalizing clue for a link between infant-care practices and distinctive aspects of our human psychology relating to music and sociality.”
So there is something out there that unites all of us, after all!
That makes you feel a little bit better, doesn’t it…?