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On the Finer Points of Baby Talk in JapanJames Singleton

Anyone who has children, or has friends or family that do, knows that most adults, no matter what their background, turn into blithering idiots when holding a baby. When speaking, we unconsciously use exaggerated pitch, repeat phrases, and shorten and simplify words—often in tandem with clicking, cooing, and overdone facial expressions—to elicit a gurgle or smile from the little one in our arms. …

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