Four master–dog dyads were studied to determine whether the language that is used in speaking to dogs (doggerel) resembles the language that is used in speaking to children (motherese). The structural properties of doggerel are strikingly similar to those that have been reported for motherese. Certain differences between motherese and doggerel may arise in functional and social areas. The similarities between the two language registers suggest that motherese is not elicited in response to either the linguistic level or the cognitive/intellectual level of the child. Rather, the social responsiveness of the listener may be sufficient to elicit the motherese register.
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"Several studies have looked at the use of secondary babytalk (SBT) by caregivers addressing care-receivers, such as nursing home personnel and patients (Caporael, 1981; Caporael, Lukaszewski, & Culbertson, 1983). SBT by pet owners to their pets has also been explored (Hirsh-Pasek & Treiman, 1982; Mitchell, 2001). SBT to houseplants and other cherished objects has also been documented (Baron, 1989). "
"This reinforces the claim that there is an organic relationship between the framing of speech as the voicing of infants on one hand and as addressed to animals on the other. The finding that adults often address pets in registers similar to those used in addressing infants has also been documented for English speakers (Burnham, Kitamura, & Vollmer-Conna, 2002; Hirsh-Pasek & Treiman 1982; see Mitchell, 2001 for a comprehensive overview). Roberts (2002) examined videotaped interactions that took place in veterinary clinics and observed that veterinary personnel regularly use baby talk register to-ad~ dress pets and to "voice" pets to reassure pet owners as well as communi cate to them face-threatening information such as criticism or disagree ment. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Based on examples drawn from tape recordings of two middle-class, dual-career White couples with children who audiotaped their own interactions for a week, I examined how family members mediate interpersonal interaction by speaking as, to, or about pet dogs who are present in the interaction. Analysis demonstrates that dogs become resources by which speakers effect a frame shift to a humorous key, buffer criticism, deliver praise, teach values to a child, resolve potential conflict with a spouse, and create a family identity that includes the dogs as family members. In this analysis, I contribute to an understanding of framing in interaction, including the relevance of Bakhtin's (1981) notion of polyvocality for conversational discourse and demonstrate how family members use pets as resources to mediate their interactions while constituting and reinforcing their identity as a family.
Research on Language and Social Interaction 10/2004; 37(4):399-420. DOI:10.1207/s15327973rlsi3704_1 · 1.23 Impact Factor
"Katcher, for example, found that 81% of pet owners thought their companion animals were sensitive to their human feelings, while 99% of respondents reported talking to their pets (Katcher 1981). Similarly, 28% of owners either confided in their companion animals or discussed with them the events of the day, 48% defined their dog as a family member, 40% celebrated its birthday and 73% let it sleep in the bedroom (Katcher 1981; Hirshpasek and Treiman 1982; Johnson, Garrity et al. 1992). Similarly, other studies indicate that companion animals feel both love for their owners (Serpell 1996) and jealousy (Mathes and Deuger 1982). "