Most cultures (Falk, 2009) have a special type of language that is used to talk to children: infant-directed-speech (IDL; or informally, motherese, baby talk). For instance, Fernald (1992) argues that motherese is an evolved phenomena that was selected for. This suggests that it has a benefit to child development, hence my questions:
- What benefit does IDL provide children?
- How do the features of IDL benefit the cognitive development of children?
- Are there benefits beyound effects on language-acquisition?
The only benefit I am familiar with (shameless self plug) is in helping avoid reversal-errors in pronoun acquisition but Kaznatcheev (2010) is only a theoretical prediction based on a particular computational model of questionable (1, 2) empirical validity.
I am interested in the developmental benefit of the very specific language used in IDL, not about the benefit of maternal care in general.
Fernald, A. (1992). "Human maternal vocalizations to infants as biologically relevant signals: An evolutionary perspective." In J. H. Barkow, L. Cosmides, & J. Tooby (Eds.) The adapted mind: Evolutionary psychology and the generation of culture (pp. 391-428).
Falk, D. (2009). Finding our tongues: Mothers, infants and the origins of language. New York: Basic Books.
Kaznatcheev, A. (2010). "A Connectionist Study on the Interplay of Nouns and Pronouns in Personal Pronoun Acquisition." Cognitive Computation 2(4): 280-284.