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

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

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'Motherese' is almost universal in human culture but this vocal change is often involuntary, so why are we drawn to high-pitched baby talk?

Asked by: 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.


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Luis VillazonQ&A expert

Luis trained as a zoologist, but now works as a science and technology educator. In his spare time he builds 3D-printed robots, in the hope that he will be spared when the revolution inevitably comes.


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