by Lyn Lomasi, Staff Writer
Baby talk is a common form of communicating with infants, but not in my family. Through experience in watching other people raise their children, I decided to do something different with mine. I never uttered a word of baby talk. My theory is that when baby talk is uttered to a baby, the baby then learns how to speak in the form of the baby talk. I discovered that by eliminating the baby talk and speaking only correct words to my children (even while in the womb and as newborns), the words were much clearer when they began to speak than those of babies who were spoken to in baby talk.
Come on, seriously, what kind of language are you teaching your baby to speak by saying things like "goo goo gaga" or speaking words in a "cutesy" way? Your baby is learning from everything you do, especially the way you talk. By listening to those around them, babies form their first words. Do you want your baby's first word for doll to sound like "doll" or "dolly" or do you want it to sound like "dow" or "do-wee". Most will choose the first option. So, why is it that people often resort to the "cutesy wutesy" way of talking to infants? Yes, babies are cute, but they are far from unintelligent. Sure, you want to speak softer to a little one. But there’s no need to treat them like they’re anything less than smart.
Yes, children need to be children, but they also need to learn. As parents, it is our job to teach them everything they need to know to succeed in the world. Could this baby talk be a reason for some children taking speech classes? It is likely not a cause for every case, but surely it could be a cause for some of them. If babies hear words incorrectly, they will inevitably speak them wrong as well. After all, if they don't hear the correct word often enough, what else would they think? They will, of course, go with the option spoken to and around them the most often.
Cut the baby talk already! Your child’s intellect is suffering.
*I originally published this in 2007 via Yahoo Contributor Network