MothereseBMJ 1998; 316 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.316.7133.753 (Published 07 March 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;316:753
- Derek Fair, general practitioner
Reading about the seemingly miraculous, if controversial, technology of cochlear implantation, I came across the word motherese. It is not to be found in my Stedman's or Dorland's medical dictionaries, nor in the Oxford nor the Webster, but it seems to be in common use among audiologists and otologists.
Motherese is the language spoken, all over the world, by mothers to their babies, before and after birth, and it is the earliest language a baby hears. The instinct of a mother to talk and sing to her baby is fundamental—as fundamental as the instinct a …