They say that English is one of the more complicated languages to learn and, since I speak no other languages, I am obliged to agree. If we take this as a fact that can I suggest that maintaining baby talk with young children is nothing short of abuse. I appreciate that babies don’t speak any discernible language but I must admit that I am at a loss as to why that encourages parents to downgrade language to some nonsensical sing along words. Your baby has to learn the language and he or she does that by listening to you, for your part you invent a language that you will then proceed to chastise them for using as ‘baby talk’ when they are older, seems pretty mean to me.
Ladies, before you tell me that the silly baby voice is comforting for your baby let me help you examine that logic. You have carried your baby for 9 months and during that time they have heard your voice and the voices of those around you. You haven’t been talking like an idiot for that time, they are used to adult conversation, words and tones. In fact if you really want to comfort them you should probably abandon lullabies and instead repeat common phrases like “Oh god I can’t see my toes”, “I look like a monster”, “feed me gherkins and jam”, “You did this to me you b*stard” and the perennial “oh yeah, sexy not”
But you don’t stop there, as you children grow older so you revert to the language that they will need to use for the rest of their life but you insist on maintaining some childhood words. This morning at the store I witnessed a harried looking mother explaining the concept of drinks to her young child “no that is juice, you don’t like juice” she explained but the child was adamant that she wanted juice. After offering some different options with no success it dawned on the stressed mother that she would have to explain “no dear, juice is real juice, squash is your juice” what sense does that make? Not only has it complicated her morning but think what it has done to the child, they don’t know whether they are coming or going! Juice is one letter shorter than squash, it’s really not a difficult transition to make is it? From the age of 16 you will be warning them about drink spiking, knowing the contents of their glass and never letting drinks out of their sight yet you are the worst culprit lying about what they are drinking.
As babies they will have had “moomoo” or some other noise to represent a drink. As they got older so they got the adult word “juice” and now, on the way to school, you drop the bombshell that juice isn’t real juice its a secret code for squash. How would you like it if, as an adult, you went to the pub and asked for lager but they served you lemonade saying “lager is lager your lager is lemonade”. Imagine how quickly your ’50 Shades’ role play would be ruined if you slipped the word ‘bitty’ in by mistake?*
Listen to the Chinese, a language that to most of us is nothing short of alien, they speak to their children in adult terms. The reason that we are singularly the worst nation at learning languages is not laziness it’s simply that we have used up two before we reach adulthood. An English adult has, in his lifetime, been fluent in baby and child nonsense both of which have thousands of dialects according to their parents. When your children do foreign exchange visits and the little French kid asks why they are so bad at French then hang your head in shame, its your fault for wasting their language capacity when they were babies. Can we please just teach our children one language apparently its complicated enough!
*This is purely presumption since I would never lower myself to read such garbage