Skip to main content
Select Source:

BABY TALK

BABY TALK. Kinds of speech used by small children. When used by adults, it is sometimes known technically as MOTHERESE, caretaker language, caregiver language. In the utterances of young children there is little grammar, vocabulary is idiosyncratic, and pronunciation immature, such as Dada gone car (Daddy has gone in the car). Adults speaking to small children adopt simplified grammar, special vocabulary, and exaggerated intonations: All gone, doggie The dog has gone. The appropriateness of ‘adult baby talk’ is sometimes questioned on the grounds that to provide a child with such a distortion of normal speech hinders the process of language learning. However, many researchers consider that the simplified grammar and marked stress patterns have an important role in making the structure of speech more accessible to the child. Forms of baby talk are also used in jocular, intimate conversation. See CHILD LANGUAGE ACQUISITION.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"BABY TALK." Concise Oxford Companion to the English Language. . Encyclopedia.com. 27 Apr. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"BABY TALK." Concise Oxford Companion to the English Language. . Encyclopedia.com. (April 27, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/baby-talk

"BABY TALK." Concise Oxford Companion to the English Language. . Retrieved April 27, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/baby-talk

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

baby talk

ba·by talk • n. childish talk used by or to young children.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"baby talk." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. 27 Apr. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"baby talk." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. (April 27, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/baby-talk

"baby talk." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Retrieved April 27, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/baby-talk

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.