Infant-directed speech: Final syllable lengthening and rate of speech


  • Robyn Church BC Family Hearing Resource Centre, 15220-92nd Avenue, Surrey, BC V3R 2T8
  • Barbara Bernhardt School of Audiology and Speech Sciences, University of British Columbia, 5804 Fairview Avenue, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z3
  • Kathy Pichora-Fuller University of Toronto at Mississauga, Department of Psychology, 3359 Mississauga Rd N, Mississauga, Ont. L5L 1C6
  • Rushen Shi Dept. of Linguistics, Université du Québec à Montréal, 3150 rue Jean-Brillant, Montréal, Que. H3T 1N8


Speech communication, Video recording, Infant-directed speech (IDS)


The present study compared infant-directed speech (IDS) and adult-directed speech (ADS) for two mothers of preverbal infants. Each mother participated in two recording sessions, one with her child, and one with an adult friend. The primary objective of the study was to determine the influence of exaggerated utterance-final syllable lengthening on the rate of IDS. A secondary objective was to compare the rate of speech read to infants with the rate of spontaneous IDS. The results showed an overall slower rate of speech in IDS to preverbal infants compared with ADS, replicating previous research. However, when the utterance-final syllable was excluded from the calculation of rate, the rate of speech in spontaneous IDS and ADS did not differ significantly. Speech was read to infants at a slower rate than spontaneous IDS. Implications for future research are suggested.

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How to Cite

Church R, Bernhardt B, Pichora-Fuller K, Shi R. Infant-directed speech: Final syllable lengthening and rate of speech. Canadian Acoustics [Internet]. 2005 Dec. 1 [cited 2024 Jul. 20];33(4):13-9. Available from:



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