Parentese: baby-directed talk in sign language
Parentese (known as "motherese" in traditional term) is defined as "a type of infant directed talk or 'baby talk' which many parents use to communicate with their infants." It is found in many cultures across the world. And, of course, also found in signed languages.
Some of the following typical characteristics of parentese found similarly in signed language and spoken language are:
- a very high-pitched voice along with a slower rhythm / exaggerated movements of the signed words with slower rhythm.
- clear speech / signing.
- exaggerated intonation with longer vowel production / exaggerated non-manual expression.
- repetition of words or phrases.
- expanding what the child expresses. E.g. child, "cat." Parent, "Yes, it is a cat." "The cat likes you, too."
- pauses between sentences or phrases to allow the child to think.
- short, simple sentences.
- using facial expression and gesture (e.g. pointing)
- prolonged eye contact and gaze