Moms Are Just Better At Baby Talk, Study Suggests

First Posted: May 19, 2015 03:33 PM EDT

Dads don't quite have the "gift of the gab" when it comes to baby talk. Leave it to moms to take charge when it comes to finding the right words.

According to new research presented at the 165th meeting of the Acoustical Society of America, researchers found evidence that fathers speak to their children in a completely different way than mothers do. Fortunately, the findings seems to suggest that these distinct forms complete one another in terms of a child's language developments.

"Dads spoke to their children more like they spoke to other adults rather than in a special way," lead author Mark Vandam of Washington State University said in an interview. "We've hypothesized that children get to try out certain kinds of speech with mom and get to try out other kinds of speech with dad."

During the study, researchers analyzed data from all-day recordings of the interactions between 11 children and their parents.

Findings revealed that a fathers' approach to communications with their children were different than the mothers. For instance, features from the mothers' language included overall higher pitch and variability. However, researchers are still not entirely clear for why this is the case.

While baby-talk, or the language more commonly used by mothers in the early stages of life, does not help prepare language in the real world, researchers believe that dad's speech patterns may help children learn more of the secular tones that are regularly used in the real world.

"The dads provide a link to that less familiar, to that outside world, to that more secular world while moms allow the kids to practice from an intimate or domestic perspective, with the familiar," Vandam concluded. "Kids need practice in both of these environments."

However, more studies will need to be completed.

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