ERIC Number: ED159904
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1975-Apr
Reference Count: 0
Baby Talk as a Simplified Register. Papers and Reports on Child Language Development, No. 9.
Ferguson, Charles A.
Every speech community has a baby talk register (BT) of phonological, grammatical, and lexical features regarded as primarily appropriate for addressing young children and also for other displaced or extended uses. Much BT is analyzable as derived from normal adult speech (AS) by such simplifying processes as reduction, substitution, assimilation, and generalization. Not all BT features are simplified: some manifest clarifying processes (and redundancy), diminutivizing or hypocoristic processes (add effect), identifying processes (mark the register) or other kinds of processes. The BT register also has independant material not derivable from AS. BT is variable in degree of deviance from the AS norm, and the variability tends to neglect the speaker's assessment of the hearer's language development as well as other factors in the communication situation. The use of BT is neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition for the acquisition of AS but assists in the child's language development. BT is universal because of its effectiveness in language socialization and in the transmission of social roles such as age, sex and kin, and cultural values of objects and actions (good, bad, sweet, dirty, dangerous, etc.). (Author/NCR)
Descriptors: Child Language, Cognitive Development, Communicative Competence (Languages), Grammar, Interaction Process Analysis, Language Acquisition, Language Styles, Language Universals, Parent Child Relationship, Phonology, Psycholinguistics, Speech, Speech Communication, Verbal Communication, Verbal Development, Vocabulary Development
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Stanford Univ., CA. Committee on Linguistics.