On the one hand, it can be said that baby’s speech development can be improved greatly if the mother uses the correct learning techniques such as; CDS. Child Directed Speech is the name given to the form of language used by mothers or primary caregivers to babies, this can also be called ‘Motherese’. In many cases, this can involve the mother teaching the child basic conversational structure, she could do this by making constant eye contact with the baby when communication is occurring.
The mother will also use rhetorical questions such as; “Are you hungry? ” These are rhetorical as the baby cannot correctly respond however, by doing this she is teaching the baby to respond and that in a day to day conversation, questions should be answered. Furthermore, a vital part of Motherese is using repetitive phrases such as; “Oh dear, dear, dear” By doing this, the mother makes what she is saying more clear and by hearing the words repetitively, the baby will learn the words, associate meanings with words and possibly use them in the future.
In addition, the caregiver can use alliteration and rhyme as this is more likely to maintain the words being learnt inside the child’s head. This may involve reading books that rhyme (as many young children’s books rhyme and therefore, aid speech development) or just simply, speaking to child but using alliteration, for example; ‘bubbly bath’, ‘silly sausage’ and ‘poo-poo’. This also breaks down language into a manageable and easy way for them to remember and eventually learn.
Most of the time, you find that mothers speak slower to young children. By breaking down a complex sentence into manageable chucks, it allows the baby to ‘digest’ the information that is being given to them. All of these techniques eventually lead to the baby using familiar utterances and so the parent/caregiver can begin to understand what the child is asking for or saying. For example, “Jonny up” means that Jonny wants to be picked up.
This quote shows that the child has learnt his name due to the adult frequently using the child’s name and that he has learnt the meaning of up through an association being made via one of the techniques discussed above. However, on the other hand it can be said that babies are not using language during the first year of their lives. This can occur as some may argue that using simple sentences such as; “It’s a cat” does not teach the child complex, detailed language that could develop their language even further such as; “Look, it’s a black cat crossing the road”.
Recent research has argued that Motherese teaches only social skills, not language. For example, their argument could be that the language taught to the children does not contain or emphasise the importance of metaphors, verbs and adjectives. This could be argued that use of these would only confuse the child further however; some would say that they are key aspects of language development and that if they are not being used; this can hinder a child’s language development significantly. Alternatively, some people argue it is the actual ‘words’ that are taught to the child.
They say the majority of the words that babies are associating meanings with are not part of the English language, these are words such as; ‘toto’ instead of photo, ‘dada’ instead of daddy and ‘bruda’ instead of brother. Therefore, the children grow up with these words as an important part of their vocabulary but they are incorrect. Another strong argument would be that, although CDS/Motherese is used all over the world, some cultures do not use it at all and so it is obviously not a compulsory and essential part of a child’s speech development.