Thank you for reading and for taking the time to ask such thoughtful questions, Australian Alien! 😊
The short answer: I'm talking about children of all ages. We should talk to them correctly, as much as we know how to do it, not the Queen. Now, perhaps I should detail what I understand by "baby talk" a little bit. 😁
The long answer:
The "baby talk" that I condemn involves using silly sounds and silly words, as well as incorrect grammar.
I believe children need to be taught actual words and correct grammar - as much as the parent knows it (not in the Queen's style).
I did suggest using a slower tempo to give the child the time to process your words.
I guess most adults won't resist a higher pitch or an exaggerated intonation, and that's OK. We see a baby, and we instantly feel like softening and sweetening our tone.
Babies need attention and affection, which can also translate into how we talk, but that does not justify silly words, in my opinion.
If we want to model our children's behavior, why wouldn't we want to model their language too?
And if we think it's acceptable to talk to them silly, at what point will it no longer be adequate?
This is yet another reason I recommend speaking to children as we do to adults. I want to teach my child how to speak from day one, not from day 374. And I'm confident I can make him feel my love and affection without having to resort to "goo goo ga ga"s.
In short, I'm all for using simpler, slower language and intonation fluctuations, but not for acting silly. I see no point in the silly talk, no matter how tiny the baby is, and especially once the baby starts talking.
When my son started saying his first words, it did not resemble the actual words too much. His grandfather (my dad) would find it so amusing to the point that he would employ the same "words" as my son just because he thought it was cute.
I always suggested that he use the correct words so the child would learn from him rather than stick to the baby version.
I hope it makes more sense now. Does it? 🤔