If you are pronouncing words slowly and with exaggerated pronunciation, just like a child would say them, you are speaking “parentese or motherese”. And this seems to help an infant in verbal development.
What the science say
A study by speech scientists from the University of Washington found that parents who learn how and why to speak parentese do have a direct impact on their children’s vocabulary. It found that infants spoken to with parentese tend to pronounce words significantly better than their age mates when they’re 14 months old.
This finding supports over 30 years of research work that infants prefer parentese to standard speech, and that infants who are exposed to more parentese at home have larger vocabularies as toddlers.
Why you want to switch to parentese
You are Your Child’s earliest and most important teacher, and you can make a significant impact in their life by giving them a head start in life through mental and vocabulary development activities. With parentese, a child tends to pay more attention to what you are saying.
Generally, children prefer parentese than the generic way of pronunciation. As a result, they get through the developmental speech stage in time, which can have a positive impact on other areas of Your Child’s life.
How to talk with Your Child in Motherese
The best way to teach Your Child language is by speaking pronouncing the words in a baby-friendly way and stretching your pronunciation. For instance, rather than saying “hello”, you should say “heellooo.”
Note that children learn language much better when you are face-to-face and can look at your mouth and other facial expressions while you are talking.
Why most technology doesn’t work
Your facial expressions and the movements of your mouth and tongue are critically important for children to learn language. This is one reason why early-learning specialists do not recommend technology or apps. The missing social interaction is another one.
Ketsupa Jirakarn (Mental health specialist) (31 March 2021)