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Baby talk in adult-to-adult communication


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Kranjčić, Tamara. (2016). Baby talk in adult-to-adult communication. Diploma Thesis. Filozofski fakultet u Zagrebu, Department of English Language and Literature. [mentor Kalogjera, Damir].

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Baby talk (IDS) is a modified use of language used by adults in communicating with children. Research show that it is used almost instinctively when speaking to children, especially infants, and its reception evokes increased temporal and frontal neural activities. Children respond to it with more attention than to regular speech, and it has been confirmed that children whose mothers use baby talk in order to provide linguistic cues learn to distinguish between similar sounding words better than the children whose mothers used regular ADS (Liu et al. 2003, Thiessen et al. 2005). Baby talk in adult-to-adult communication hasn’t been investigated in terms of neural activities, but this paper shows that the phenomenon exists in different social contexts. For the purposes of this research, baby talk is understood as a speech pattern, but also includes idioms and childlike expressions, mostly diminutives and nicknames, utterances of which may not be necessarily characterized by the typical baby-talk prosodic properties. The electronic survey was conducted, designed separately for English and Croatian native speakers, consisting of 29 statements regarding the informants’ attitudes on baby talk in adult-to-adult communication. The answers of 215 informants confirmed the hypothesis that there is a difference in attitudes between using baby talk with children and using baby talk within adults’ social environment. It was also investigated what type of inter-adult relationship among the three suggested in the survey (friendships, parental and romantic relationships) is the most approving of baby talk. Informants reported that they are uncomfortable with using baby talk in front of other people (34.8 %), and 13.8% mark baby talk as immature behaviour. Baby talking to children (31 %) and pets (47.1%) is acceptable, and, although not used as extensively, baby talking to romantic partners is acceptable and considered to be a sign of intimacy (21.9 %). Small differences in results between English and Croatian native speakers confirm that baby talk is a widely spread phenomenon in Western cultures. Present results also indicate that baby talk is not gender conditioned

Item Type: Diploma Thesis
Uncontrolled Keywords: Baby talk; IDS; CDS; ADS; Adult-to-adult communication; Romantic communication; Expressing affection; Affection communication theory
Subjects: English language and literature
Departments: Department of English Language and Literature
Supervisor: Kalogjera, Damir
Date Deposited: 12 Oct 2016 09:34
Last Modified: 12 Oct 2016 09:34

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