Baby Talk Is Bad for Everyone, Even Babies

"There have been reports around the office that you have been talking baby talk ... You are on record as saying wittle ittle, footie wooties, num nums, jammies, make boom boom, widicuwous, and Whode Island."

This is The Office's Michael Scott scolding Andy Bernard for his use of baby talk around the office. I'm not even from there, but I find the verbal butchering of Rhode Island particularly offensive.

But really, baby talk should never be used anywhere, especially not around babies.


I'm not sure why or when it happened -- though I suspect those Lolcats have something to do with it -- but baby talk seems to have become an acceptable part of the vernacular. Last week, for instance, I received an e-mail from Target advertising baby gear at "Sweet Wittle Prices." Nooo! W's do not replace L's. Or R's. And F's do not replace the "th" sound.

I hate baby talk so much that I don't even use it with my baby. Instead, I talk to her like a normal person. When I'm changing the diaper, I'm not all, "Wooks wike a wittle baby made a wee wee." Nor am I like, "I suspect that someone urinated." I just say, "Looks like you peed!" See? Normal person.

I have to wonder: Is baby talk even good for babies? One would think that using fake words while your baby's developing language skills would actually harm them. And wouldn't you know, there are studies out there that suggest this very theory. It should come as no surprise that researchers found speaking in complex sentences -- you know, with multiple nouns, verbs, or clauses -- sets a better example for little ones. 

Then again, there are studies that say it actually helps babies learn. But those explored adults speaking in higher, cutesier tones -- which language specialists refer to as infant-directed speech -- to babies and not the use of silly, made-up words. So it seems to me that even science agrees: No one should speak baby talk. Ever.

Except maybe the E*TRADE babies. They're funny.

What do you think of baby talk?


Image via ocean yamaha/Flickr 

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