from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Child-directed speech. See Usage Note at child-directed speech.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. baby talk

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. an adult's imitation of the speech of a young child


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • It is not accidental that we find ourselves cooing to an infant in silly, giddy tones called motherese—and might greet a wagging dog with similar baby talk.


  • This kind of talk, dubbed motherese, is an instict that crosses cultural and linguistic boundaries.

    WNYC New York Public Radio

  • They smile at them and exaggerate their gestures, modify their voice pitch-the so-called "motherese" - and kiss them.

    Scientific Blogging

  • In linguistics, systematic studies of "motherese," or the speech caregiver's use when talking to young children, have usually been taken as one of the best pieces of evidence for the poverty of stimulus though see the references in footnote 2 for counterarguments.

    Poverty of Stimulus in Ethics: Some Criticisms

  • Even when words are used, moms typically express themselves in a language style called "motherese" or "mom speak" that babies seem to love.


  • Newborns prefer their mother's voice over other voices and perceive the emotional content of messages conveyed via intonation contours in maternal speech (a.k.a. "motherese").

    The Times of India

  • Kuhl and scientists at Tokyo Denki University and the University of Minnesota helped develop a computer language program that pictures people speaking in "motherese," the slow exaggeration of sounds that parents use with babies.


  • Pepperberg tended to speak to Alex in the singsong “motherese” that doting parents use with young children, and he replied in a voice that seemed to convey a toddlerish pride.

    Birdbrain « Isegoria

  • Primatologists at Kyoto University and their colleagues note that such overemphasis is much like what human mothers do when teaching infants, dubbed “motion­ese” by behavior scientists after “motherese,” or baby talk.

    Psychology / Neuroscience Link Dump

  • Infants can hear other speech sounds, but they are more interested in motherese.



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