Adults from different cultures and countries are constantly changing their voices when speaking and singing with young children.
This is what a study published in the scientific journal reveals The nature of human behavior this week. According to the authors of the research, which promises to be one of the most comprehensive in the area, the way we talk to children, trying to imitate them or tune in a little more, is common in at least 12 language families around. world, such as those that integrate Spanish, English, Polish, Mandarin, etc. (Brazilian Portuguese was not considered in the study).
To reach this conclusion, the group of 40 scientists involved in the research conducted listening tests with more than 51,000 people from 187 countries who spoke the most diverse languages.
In these assessments, participants listened to more than 1600 dialogue recordings Aimed at children and adults, produced by a group of more than 400 people Representing cultures from all continents on the planet.
Because these recordings had different vocal characteristics (those aimed at children had purer tones, songs were softer, and adults’ speech was sharper), the scientists were able to note that listeners were able to accurately guess when these sounds were different. Nature.Actually aimed at children.
“These results show that the acoustic features of children’s oriented speech and music are strongly stereotyped in the 21 populations studied here,” the authors said in the study.
In the research, the authors also argue that this finding suggests that humans change pronunciation when they speak to children in a consistent and widely recognizable manner, but they also provide an important caveat: the study covers only 12 language families and it was. It was conducted on an English-language site, and the analysis cannot be considered conclusive.
They highlighted that “the participants studied do not constitute a representative sample of humans, and the studied communities or languages do not constitute a representative sample of human communities or languages.”
To assess the validity of this universality of sounds directed at children “across a wide range of human societies” the researchers cautioned that further studies are necessary, particularly research focusing on societies “which have previously been reported to have unusual articulation practices.”
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