I’m sure everyone is guilty of at some point making these same exact faces. We’ve all caught ourselves making odd expressions and awkward noises in an effort to communicate with little ones. Unfortunately, when there’s an adorable little face in front of us, it is almost too easy to forget all we have ever learned about a speech. All of a sudden the word little automatically becomes “wittle” and please is now “pwease.” It’s a common case of parantese vs baby talk.
Parantese is a helpful way to speak to your infant. This method of communication features exaggerated facial expressions and emphasizes correct pronunciation when talking to infants. Parantese is exemplified by pulling out the vowel sounds and clearly voicing consonants e.g.”Yooo haapee baybee.” It is very different than the hurried way we speak to other adults.
On the other hand, baby talk consists of made up words and silly noises. Making sounds like “ah buh buh buh”, mispronouncing words such as “I wanna kiss your toesies” and using nonsense phrases when talking to a baby.
As a speech pathologist, I encourage parents to use parentese with their infant up to the age of about 1 year old. Research shows that parentese is preferred by babies and actually helps them to learn to speak and understand a language.
Make sure to reach out to our TEAM 4 Kids Speech Therapy team for more tips on how to speak to your child using parantese!