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Prompted by this question, what's a good word/expression for an adult adopting childlike speech/mannerisms when dealing with an infant?

I mean where the adult speaks in an exaggeratedly "sing-song" voice, uses childish words like bow-wow for dog, choo-choo for train, etc. A style which would be called condescending if used with another adult.

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3 Answers

up vote 2 down vote accepted

The usual term in linguistics is "motherese", but "child-directed speech" is a bit more politically correct.

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I've heard it referred to as baby-talk.

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The first word that comes to my mind is patronizing

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Well I did say it would be patronising/condescending when directed at another adult, but that's not really a factor with babies/children. Actually, I wanted a generic term for the communication style, so one adult could say the equivalent of Don't patronise me! to another, using a word that could neutrally describe how Mummy talks to her little treasure. –  FumbleFingers Oct 18 '11 at 21:00
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