Moms tweak the timbre of their voice when talking to their babies

Credit: Jerome Tisne via Getty ImagesListening to baby talk can be annoying for adults, but it plays an important role in learning and understanding language structure for infants. Princeton researchers have quantified the vocal shifts in several different languages and found that mothers, regardless of whether they speak English, Spanish, Mandarin, or Hungarian, talk to their babies in a similar way. The new study on “motherese” appears in the journal Current Biology.Elise Piazza, lead author and a postdoctoral research associate with the Princeton Neuroscience Institute, said, “Motherese contains exaggerated pitch contours and repetitive rhythms that help babies segment the complex noises around them into building blocks of language.”   She added that the speaking style also helps parents capture the attention of their babies and engage them emotionally.   Piazza and her team first examined the timbre, or vocal quality, of 12 English-speaking mothers.   “We use timbre, the to

Moms tweak the timbre of their voice when talking to their babies

Mothers shift the timbre, or quality, of their voice when talking to their babies, a change that happens in many different languages.

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