Why do we raise our voice pitch when we speak to babies?

Wednesday 22nd July 2009
Submitted by Luis Villazon
Dan Bradshaw, Cheltenham

Baby talk or 'motherese' is nearly universal in human cultures and also found in Rhesus monkeys. It is characterised by generally higher pitch, greater pitch variation and a more musical rhythm and tone. Research has suggested that this exaggerated emphasis may help infants learn the sound patterns to develop speech or increase attention when parents are warning of dangers.

Is diet cola lighter than regular cola?
previous qanda Article
Would an iris scan work if you were unconscious or your eyeball was detached?
next qanda Article
Q&A Tabs

In the vacuum of space, aerofoils like those on planes are useless. Instead, propulsion and steering are achieved with rockets. With no air molecules to push on, you may wonder how the shuttle...

Faking the actual results is the easy bit. But the scientific method relies on 'replication'. In other words, for the community to adopt a new theory, results must be independently repeated and...

Phlegm is the mucous secretion of the respiratory passages. The cilia cells that line these passages are continually driving the phlegm upward to the throat, where it triggers the swallow reflex...

Most reports of the discovery of the Higgs boson at the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva in 2012 focused on its role in explaining the origin of mass. But for physicists, the real excitement lay in...

It's hard to tell, because wooden boomerangs, such as those used by Australian aborigines, don't last forever and don't leave long-term traces. An ivory boomerang with gold tips was found in the...

All female mammals have a clitoris, the sole purpose of which is to react to sexual stimulation, and presumably this stimulation has evolved to be pleasurable for most species. But establishing...

To create a sound, we have to set matter - whether it's a gas like air, a liquid or even a solid material - in regular motion, creating a wave of specific frequencies, which we hear as a sound of...

Mirrors don’t reverse left and right either – that’s just our interpretation of what happens. Your reflection in the mirror is actually reversed front to back – if you have...

Discovered by an American student named Gary Flandro in the mid-1960s, the slingshot manoeuvre usually involves spacecraft briefly 'coat-tailing' a planet orbiting the Sun, extracting some of the...

The ice disappears because the wind blows away water molecules that have evaporated or 'sublimed' from the ice, so the ice slowly shrinks in size. The molecules that escape are those with the...

We use cookies to improve your experience of our website. Cookies perform functions like recognising you each time you visit and delivering advertising messages that are relevant to you. Read more here