why do we automatically change our voices to talk to babys and pet? what causes that?


why do we automatically change our voices to talk to babys and pet? what causes that?

In: Other

Neither babies nor pets can understand the words that we’re saying. They can understand tone, body language and mood though.

So even though we can’t tell them we’re friends, we can sound reassuring and friendly.

When we switch tones to smaller creatures it shows them we are friends. Pets and baby’s don’t understand our words so we use a soft tone to show we mean no harm.

Baby-directed speech and pet-directed speech are similar because it actually does get the animals/baby’s attention and it holds it for longer than normal speech patterns.

However with baby-directed speech we tend to exaggerate the pronounciation of words but we don’t so this with animals. so this suggests that it can also be a tool to help teach babies to speak.



It’s a form of code switching, and we do it all the time! Not just for babies and animals, but those are more exaggerated examples.

Code switching is when we change our speech according to the situation. Think about the way you’d talk on the phone with customer service vs with a close family member. You’re using the same language, and many of the same words, but there are subtle differences. The coolest part to me is one you mentioned – we do this without really thinking about it!

It’s something we are conditioned to do. Anyone who can relate to this just grew up in a society where this is a practice. Many of us just do it without even thinking about it.

What other things are we doing without even thinking about?

It’s purely asocietal influence, I talk to babies and animals just as I would anyone else. That ‘ootchy coo’ voice is really annoying.

Must be why babies and animals don’t respond to me as I don’t change voice tones or vocabulary.

In the words of Eckhart Tölle, it is called role-playing. Your conceptual self is interacting with the conceptual other, and the other is probably doing the same thing.